Table of Contents
ISRN Automotive Engineering
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 852607, 8 pages
Research Article

Combined Effects of Long-Term Sitting and Whole-Body Vibration on Discomfort Onset for Vehicle Occupants

Loughborough Design School, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK

Received 11 June 2013; Accepted 22 July 2013; Published 2 January 2014

Academic Editors: A. Anund and M. Gobbi

Copyright © 2014 Neil J. Mansfield et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Occupants of automobiles experience discomfort after long drives, irrespective of how well designed a seat might be. Previous studies of discomfort during driving have focused either on the seat shape and materials (“static” properties), long-term discomfort (“fatigue” properties), or dynamics (“vibration” properties). These factors have previously not been considered together. This paper reports three studies with objectives to define and test a model for describing long-term discomfort from vibration. Study 1 was an independent measures laboratory trial using an automobile seat, which lasted 80 minutes; Study 2 was a repeated measures laboratory trial using a rail passenger seat, which lasted 60 minutes; Study 3 was a repeated measures field trial in a people carrier automobile, which involved 70 minutes of travelling. The findings showed that discomfort accrues with time but that more discomfort is experienced when subjects are also exposed to whole-body vibration. Exposure to whole-body vibration accelerates development of discomfort. The relationship between the reported discomfort, the vibration magnitude, and the exposure time can be described using a multifactorial linear model. It is concluded that ignoring parts of the multi-factorial model (i.e., static, dynamic, or temporal factors) will compromise understanding of discomfort in context.