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Study of Biomechanical Response of Human Hand-Arm to Random Vibrations of Steering Wheel of Tractor

G. Geethanjali, C. Sujatha
* Student, IIT Madras, Chennai, India.
Professor, IIT Madras, Chennai, India.

Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics 2013, 10(4), 303-317.


This paper reports a study on the biomechanical response of a human hand-arm model to random vibrations of the steering wheel of a tractor. An anatomically accurate bone-only hand-arm model from TurboSquidTM was used to obtain a finite element (FE) model to understand the Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), which is a neurological and vascular disorder caused by exposure of the human hand-arm to prolonged vibrations. Modal analysis has been done to find out the first few natural frequencies and mode shapes of the system. Coupling of degrees of freedom (DOF) had to be done in the FE idealization to do modal analysis, as the bones were not attached to each other in the TurboSquidTM model. The shoulder bone, scapula, has been constrained at one end for eigenvalue analysis. It was observed that the first five natural frequencies were in the range of 0-250 Hz, which is the range in which the effect of HAVS is the highest. Harmonic analysis was done by giving a swept sine excitation in the frequency range 0 to 200 Hz. For this, a force input of 25 N was imparted at nodes perpendicular to the hand, the force value chosen being the nominal force in most applications involving powered hand-held tools and steering wheels of tractors. The nodes chosen for force application were determined experimentally from observations made by gripping the steering wheel. The frequency response function (FRF) plots were obtained in the x, y and z directions. Random vibration analysis was done next by giving force power spectral densities (PSD) in the form of nodal excitation as input to the FE model of hand-arm, and computing the output acceleration PSDs. The input force PSDs were measured using FlexiForce® sensors along the three axes. The acceleration responses at the steering wheel were also measured using tri-axial accelerometers for validating the computed results. The output acceleration PSDs were then weighted using the frequency weighting curves for hand-arm vibration and the total daily exposure A(8), computed using ISO 5349-1 standards, was compared with the vibration action and limit values. The A(8) values obtained are found to be higher than the vibration limit values.


Hand-arm vibration syndrome, finite element modeling, hand-transmitted vibrations, daily vibration exposure value.

Cite This Article

Geethanjali, G., Sujatha, C. (2013). Study of Biomechanical Response of Human Hand-Arm to Random Vibrations of Steering Wheel of Tractor. Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics, 10(4), 303–317.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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