Percuoco, Chiara (2021) Design and analysis of experiments aimed at improving the aircraft seat comfort for young and elderly passengers. [Tesi di dottorato]


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Item Type: Tesi di dottorato
Resource language: English
Title: Design and analysis of experiments aimed at improving the aircraft seat comfort for young and elderly passengers
Date: 15 July 2021
Number of Pages: 167
Institution: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Department: Ingegneria Industriale
Dottorato: Ingegneria industriale
Ciclo di dottorato: 33
Coordinatore del Corso di dottorato:
Vanacore, AmaliaUNSPECIFIED
Date: 15 July 2021
Number of Pages: 167
Keywords: Aircraft comfort; Generalized Linear Models; Crossover design
Settori scientifico-disciplinari del MIUR: Area 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche > SECS-S/02 - Statistica per la ricerca sperimentale e tecnologica
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2021 13:48
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2023 13:16

Collection description

Population ageing is becoming a global phenomenon. According to the United Nations report World Population Ageing, "the number of older people aged 60 or over was about 202 million in 1950, accelerated to 841 million in 2013, and will triple by 2050". The contextual implementation of active and healthy ageing policies, modifying the expectation, quality and lifestyle of the elderly, is offering opportunities and challenges on various aspects of daily life and health management: among the various positive aspects, this has determined an increase in mobility for recreational purposes and therefore an increasing complexity of the needs connected to it. These changing needs must be considered in the design of transport environments to ensure dignity and autonomy for passengers, in accordance with the policy of non-discrimination promoted by European regulations for users with reduced mobility (EC n.1107/2006). In 2017, following a positive trend begun in 2010, passengers who used air transport for their journeys to or from European Union countries exceeded the record figure of one billion for the first time. In 2018, according to Eurostat data, air traffic increased by a further 6% at European level, involving 1 billion 106 million passengers. In this European scenario, Italy is the fifth country in the EU ranking for the number of transported passengers, preceded in order by the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and France, and is even in second place, preceded only by Spain, if referring to the transport of passengers on the national territory. In 2019, passengers transited through the 39 Italian airports monitored by Assaeroporti amounted to 193 million, i.e. 7.4 million more than the previous year equal to +4%, in line with the positive trend of previous years; among them, 19% on average were between 55 and 64 years old and 12% over 65 (Istat, May 2020). Together with the diversity of passenger population, it should be emphasized the change of their needs, helped by rapid technological development that allows passengers to carry out various activities from the comfort of their seats. Therefore, the heterogeneity of new transport needs makes it necessary to adopt an inclusive design approach, aimed at designing and implementing products that are accessible and usable by the largest number of potential users. The proposed research aims to support the ergonomic design of aircraft interiors in order to improve the quality of the mobility experience of both elderly passengers and passengers with reduced mobility. Specifically, the research started from the generation phase of their concept and went through the development of experimental protocols and methods for the evaluation of different design solutions and the continuous monitoring of postural comfort through temporal analysis of data collected by pressure and movement sensors. The research activity focused on the aspects of passive mobility, that is the context in which the air passenger operates (although the same can be extended to other contexts different from air transport, such as rail, sea or road transport): 1. identification of strategies and methods for assessing the accessibility and passenger comfort; 2. characterization of critical postural parameters to maximize passenger comfort; 3. elaboration of experimental protocols aimed at validating the feasibility of the proposed design solutions through experimental campaigns in real life. The activities related to the first point were carried out through an extensive analysis of the specialized literature concerning the analysis of (dis-)comfort both in aircraft environment and transport in general. The investigation then focused on methods for assessing the accessibility and (dis-)comfort of the passenger seat. Literature studies have focused most of the research activity on the evaluation and analysis of the experiences of young and healthy passengers who are able to move independently. Each study adopted different strategies preventing both comparison and generalization of results. Indeed, recent literature reviews have highlighted the need to develop methodologies for collecting and analyzing comfort data producing statistically significant evidence to provide diagnostic information to all stakeholders The activities inherent to the second point concerned the formulation of an evaluation strategy suitable to identify the needs of passengers, both young and old, and the critical features of the seat on which to intervene to maximize the comfort experience with respect to the functional characteristics of interest. These strategies were implemented during several experimental campaigns which, as described in the third point, involved the establishment of specific experimental protocols that allowed for replicability of the experimental tests and reliability of the results. In order to carry out the outlined activities, it was necessary to make use of different skills and tools. First of all, the experimental tests were designed with respect to appropriate methodologies for planning experiments (i.e. Design of Experiments, DOE) in order to minimize the number of tests and the impact of the main noise factors such as anthropometric characteristics of potential users, time and duration of the test. Two types of data were collected: subjective and objective measures. The collected subjective measures involved directly the selected sample who carried out an assessment of personally perceived (dis-)comfort, usability and accessibility (ease of ingress/egress) with respect to the conditions tested each time. The selected sample of participants was always sufficiently representative of the population of interest and was trained in advance to perform the test. To detect subjective measures, survey instruments such as questionnaires or checklists existing in the literature or specially elaborated and previously validated were used. The objective measures (i.e. pressure at the seat-occupant interface) were obtained using different instruments: mats equipped with sensors for both seat and backrest were used for the detection of pressures at the seat-occupant interface.


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