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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The effect of water content on the stiffness of seating foams.

The chairbound, disabled person requires a supportive cushion to distribute pressure in order to reduce the risk of pressure sores and any alteration to the load carrying capacity of the cushion may have a deleterious effect on its ability to provide adequate support. The National Health Service supplies two basic grades of polyurethane foam for wheelchair cushions and this study investigated the effect of water content on their compressive load carrying capacity. Both foams became less stiff and exhibited greater than 20% increase in deformation when containing 20% water by volume at loads encountered in seating. This decrease in stiffness may result in a dramatic change in the pressure distribution under a patient particularly if only a small section of the cushion becomes wet. This result emphasizes the need to fit waterproof coverings to these foam cushions and to maintain the integrity of the covering.[1]


  1. The effect of water content on the stiffness of seating foams. Brown, A.M., Pearcy, M.J. Prosthetics and orthotics international. (1986) [Pubmed]
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