Development of test methods for palm impact of wrist protectors at MMU

The ISEA Student Engagement Award was used in order to help me subside my MD thesis, titled “Development of test methods for palm impact of wrist protectors” which was developed through a collaboration between the Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Padova. The award helped me cover the living costs and accommodation during my work at MMU and the costs of instrumentation and materials.

This experience was very important both for my personal and professional improvement, and for the results that were achieved.

The collaboration between my university and MMU gave me the chance to come to live in Manchester for a few months, visit the city, meet new people, experience a different lifestyle and taste new food.
During my work I was able to develop new skills: I learned how to use the instrumentation that was needed for the test, I learned how to use new softwares, and to improve my teamwork skills and my communication skills. Most importantly it gave me the opportunity to start a new collaboration between the two universities and to see how teams from different universities and countries work to develop their projects.

The aim of this project was to help the team of sports engineering at MMU to develop new tests and methods to assess the quality of wrist protectors for snowboarding. To do that I worked at MMU to test and compare different impact surfaces, I worked to develop new instrumentation to help measure the pressure distribution over the impact surface and finally, at UNIPD, I developed a new palm surrogate with a biofidelic surface and material.

In order to create the new surrogate, we first tested the hardness of human hands with a durometer and scanned them with a 3D scanner, then we 3D printed the molds and the rigid parts of the surrogate with a 3D printer, the soft parts of the surrogate were made out of a silicone rubber.

Before testing we built a new drop rig (Figure 1), it was instrumented with a load cell, an accelerometer and an high-speed camera.

We tested two different surrogate designs (Figures 2 – 3) both with and without a wrist protector, the results from the test were consistent and quite promising, especially for one of the two designs.

Future work should focus on more tests on the surrogates we developed and to compare the results with low energy in-vivo impact test in order to validate or improve the surrogates. These new surrogates should also be integrated with the new instrumentation that we were developing at MMU in order to have more precise results.