Characterization of Fabric-to-Fabric Friction: Application to Medical Compression Bandages

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Fabric-to-fabric friction is involved in the action mechanism of medical compression devices such as compression bandages or lumbar belts. To better understand the action of such devices, it is essential to characterize, in their use conditions (mainly pressure and stretch), the frictional properties of the fabrics they are composed of. A characterization method of fabric-to-fabric friction was developed. This method was based on the customization of the fourth instrument of the Kawabata Evaluation System, initially designed for fabric roughness and friction characterization. A friction contactor was developed so that the stretch of the fabric and the applied load can vary to replicate the use conditions. This methodology was implemented to measure the friction coefficient of several medical compression bandages. In the ranges of pressure and bandage stretch investigated in the study, bandage-to-bandage friction coefficient showed very little variation. This simple and reliable method, which was tested for commercially available medical compression bandages, could be used for other medical compression fabrics.

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