At the same time, the convenience, safety, and comfort of wheelchair use must also be effectively ensured. In general, lightweight, high strength, corrosion resistance, and good shock absorption are the main considerations when choosing materials for wheelchairs.
Why is it that the lighter the wheelchair, the better?
Because every 30% reduction in the weight of a wheelchair frame will reduce the resistance to travel by about 10%.
Most of the wheelchairs currently on the market are manual wheelchairs, which basically rely on the janitor or wheelchair user to make them move manually.
The lighter the wheelchair, the less the burden on the operator, especially for the wheelchair user himself, who controls the wheelchair mainly through upper body strength.
Even in the case of electric wheelchairs, the battery capacity is limited, and the lighter the wheelchair itself, the longer the range.
Why is it important that the wheelchair body material be high-strength?
As mentioned earlier, the complexity and flexibility of the wheelchair movement mechanism require that the wheelchair itself be made of a certain strength.
When strength is guaranteed, the weight of the material can be reduced under the same mechanical performance requirements, thus achieving a lighter wheelchair.
Why must wheelchair materials have a certain level of corrosion resistance?
Patients using wheelchairs must sometimes face physiological situations such as incontinence and sometimes contamination or erosion from some medications.
Most wheelchairs will be used outdoors and will be exposed to ultraviolet light, once in direct contact with rain or alternating between high and low-temperature environments.
Then, materials with poor corrosion resistance are prone to rust and surface oxidation, affecting the stability and beauty of the wheelchair frame.
Why should wheelchairs have good shock absorption performance?
Wheelchair users may be a wide variety of patients, such as hemiplegics, amputees, broken legs, etc.
In particular, patients with leg problems during post-operative or other rehabilitation periods should try to reduce the vibration of injured parts of the body during the use of the wheelchair to avoid secondary trauma.
Therefore, the greater the damping coefficient of the wheelchair material, the better the shock absorption and damping effect, and the wheelchair frame and large wheel hub to reduce vibration can effectively improve the safety and comfort of wheelchair use.
In short, wheelchairs must start with materials to achieve the goals of lightweight, convenience, comfort, and corrosion resistance.
After years of development, the body materials available for wheelchairs have become more and more abundant, gradually replacing the wooden frame at the beginning with a steel frame, followed by aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, carbon fiber, magnesium alloy, and other composite materials in many forms.
Although steel has mature technology and low cost in the manufacturing process and other aspects, it cannot meet the high demand for lightweight. Although aluminum alloy is lighter, it still needs to be assembled by welding or riveting, while the design of an ultra-light wheelchair requires the lightest possible weight while maintaining the structural integrity of the frame.
Carbon fiber composites are ideal lightweight materials for high-end wheelchairs because of their low density, high specific strength, corrosion and fatigue resistance, and the ability to build a more complex overall structure through integral forming.
Although the higher cost of carbon fiber composites has to a certain extent restricted their wider application, their performance advantages such as lightweight, high strength and comfort can meet the needs of some high-end users.