Safety performance of gloves using the pressure tolerance of the hand
Two prototype gloves have been designed and developed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety performance of the developed gloves. An experiment was conducted to assess the discomfort threshold level at 12 zones on the palmar surface of the hand for five hand conditions - bare hand, single glove, double glove and two prototype gloves. Prototype I consisted of a glove with an extra layer of glove material applied selectively to critical areas of the hand; while prototype II had up to four layers applied to critical areas. This design increases protection in critical areas without increasing bulk, provides performances comparable with single glove, and improves grip strength. The study was conducted using an algometer device to apply pressure to each of the 12 zones, for all hand conditions. The results indicated that for pressure tolerance, prototype II had the highest pressure-discomfort threshold, while prototype I had a threshold similar to the double layer glove. Pressure discomfort tolerance threshold is greatly increased by the use of gloves, and pressure- discomfort thresholds are raised by 25-65%. The two prototype gloves, although much less bulkier than the double glove, have pressure thresholds that are equal to or superior to that of a double glove. The algometer can be used to assess the safety of glove from mechanical trauma. Hence, the generalizability of the results is somewhat restricted. However, the method of selective protection, without compromising performance appears to be promising and is worth pursuing by glove designers.
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