Validation and improvement of the ISO 2631-1 (1997) standard method for evaluating discomfort from whole-body vibration in a multi-axis environment
thesisposted on 21.05.2010 by Yka Marjanen
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
Vibration exposure can occur at work, commuting between home and work, and in leisure activities. Any form of transportation will expose humans to some degree of vibration. Exposure to vibration can cause health problems, but more likely comfort problems. Health problems are normally related to back pain. Comfort on the other hand is related to both physiological and psychological factors, which can have a wide range of effects from a general annoyance to a reduced work capability. The standard ISO 2631-1 (1997) provides a guidance, which can be used to measure, evaluate and assess effects of whole-body vibration to discomfort. The standard allows several interpretations, which can lead to different results, as the standard does not provide an explicit guidance for selecting which axes and locations to measure and which averaging method to use for evaluating the axes. The suggested averaging method is the root mean square (r.m.s.) method, but additionally vibration dose value (VDV) can be used. This can lead to different results, as VDV emphasises shocks more than the r.m.s. method. The standard guides to measure and evaluate at least the seat translational axes, but the additional nine axes from the seat, backrest and floor are not mandatory. However, this can result in a different comfort value, as the values from the measured axes are combined. So taking into account all possible interpretations the assessment can vary significantly for the same environment. The selection of the averaging method is not a technical issue, as both methods are supported by all commercial equipment. However, it is rare that more than three axes are possible to be measured with typical whole-body vibration measurement equipment, thus the majority of studies have published results based on only the seat translational axes. Especially the rotational axes have been missing in most studies. The full method (i.e. using all possible axes to calculate the comfort value) of ISO 2631-1 (1997) has been rarely used and there is very little information on how accurate the method is for assessing discomfort in a multi-axis environment. There are only a few studies that have used the full method, but there are no known studies which have actually validated the full ISO 2631-1 method. The objective of the thesis was to validate and, if necessary, to improve the full method of the ISO 2631-1 standard for evaluating discomfort from whole-body vibration in a multi-axis environment. It was assumed that the ISO 2631-1 method can be used to predict discomfort in practice, but there are a relatively low number of studies to confirm this. Frequency weightings have been the focus of many published studies and it was assumed that these are broadly correct. Other aspects of the ISO 2631-1 method are the focus of this thesis. The goal was to keep a backward compatibility to previous studies and the current commercial equipment, thus several limitations were defined for the improvement of the standard. Several laboratory experiments, field measurements, and field and laboratory trials were conducted to validate the standard method. At first it was concluded that practical equipment for measuring 12-axis data was needed as there was no commercial system available. The equipment and software was validated in two experiments, which showed that simple and affordable components could be used to develop equipment for the full method. Even though the standard does not include information about a six-axis sensor for measuring both translational and rotational axes, there was a method to validate the sensor. The first field study included measuring several machines using all twelve axes. The analysis showed that the seat and backrest translational axes will contribute about 90 % of the overall vibration total value of the standard method, thus very little justification was found for including the seat rotational and floor translational axes. Similar results were found based on the data from the previous 12-axis studies. It was also found that the neglected axes could be compensated with a factor for estimating the overall vibration total value including all twelve axes. As the overall vibration total value is directly related to the number of used axes, the compensating factors can be used to compare results which used different axes. The laboratory trial confirmed the results from the field study, and it was concluded that sufficient accuracy to predict discomfort can be achieved using just the seat translational axes, even though the correlation improved when more axes were included. It was found that the evaluation of discomfort was improved by the use of the frequency weighting curves and the r.m.s. averaging method. However, as the multiplying factors degraded correlation, it was concluded that a new set of factors should be calculated. The new factors showed that a higher emphasis on the seat horizontal axes should be given (x=2.7, y=1.8 and z=1.0). The new factors improved the correlation systematically for all subjects. The field trial showed a similar trend, where optimised multiplying factors improved the correlation, but it was also noted that different multiplying factors are required for different environments, thus a procedure to optimise the standard method to different environments was developed. The trial showed systematic behaviour and the optimised multiplying factors were best for all subjects and groups. Keywords: Discomfort, whole-body vibration, standard, ISO 2631-1, multi-axis, multiplying factors