Glove Hand Function Tests

In addition to evaluating the comfort / heat stress and thermal protection of gloves, T-PACC performs a variety of tests for assessing the functionality of glove systems. Dexterity is measured using a pegboard, tool, or lift test; Ability to grip is evaluated by either a pull or torque force apparatus; Stiffness is assessed by a mechanical hand. All of these test methods were designed to measure gloves worn by fire fighting personnel, but are applicable to any type of gloves.

Evaluating Dexterity

Modified Pegboard Test

The Glove Hand Function Test (ASTM F2010, NFPA 1971) measures dexterity by comparing gloved hand performance to bare hand performance during a time-based task using a modified pegboard apparatus. In this test, a subject is tasked to pick up 25 stainless steel pins with the index finger and thumb and place them into a pegboard. The subject completes the task with and without gloves and the dexterity rating is calculated on a percentage basis by comparing times to complete the task in each condition. Both fine (fingertip) and gross (whole hand) dexterity are required to complete the task, but the test is geared more toward fine dexterity.

Tool Test

The Dexterity Tool Test (proposed NFPA 1971 test method) measures dexterity by comparing gloved hand performance to bare hand performance during a time-based task using hand tools and a test board apparatus. In this test, a subject is tasked to pick up a bolt, place the bolt through a test board, place a nut onto the bolt, hand tighten the nut, pick up a torque wrench with one hand and a box wrench with the other, and tighten the nut onto the bolt with the torque wrench until it is snug. This is done for a total of four nuts and bolts per test. The subject completes the task with and without gloves and the dexterity rating is calculated on a percentage basis by comparing times to complete the task in each condition. Both fine (fingertip) and gross (whole hand) dexterity are required to complete the task, but the test is geared more toward gross dexterity.

Lift Test

The Dexterity Lift Test measures dexterity by comparing gloved hand ability to bare hand ability to grasp (with fingertips) and lift a cylindrical object protruding from a flat surface. The Dexterity Lift Test tasks a subject to lift a 2″ diameter metal cylinder through an aperture in an upper platform as it is raised incrementally on a lower platform until it protrudes enough that the cylinder can be grasped and lifted from the lower platform. The subject completes the task with and without gloves and the dexterity rating is calculated on a percentage basis by comparing protrusion heights required to complete the task in each condition. This test is designed to measure fine (fingertip) dexterity.

Evaluating Grip

Pull Force

The NFPA 1971 Grip Test measures grip by comparing gloved hand ability to bare hand ability to grasp and pull an object without slippage. The Grip Test tasks a subject to exert as much pulling force as possible in successive pulls of a rope or pole connected to a force measuring apparatus. The subject completes the task with and without gloves and the grip rating is calculated on a percentage basis by comparing peak pulling forces achieved in each condition.

Torque Test

torque-testThe Grip Torque Test (proposed NFPA 1971 test method) measures grip by comparing gloved hand ability to bare hand ability to grasp and turn a test rod without slippage. The Torque Grip Test tasks a subject to exert as much barehanded torque force as possible in successive turns (twisting motion as opening or closing a jar) of a test rod connected to a torque measuring apparatus. The subject completes the task with and without gloves and the grip rating is calculated on a percentage basis by comparing peak torque forces achieved in each condition.

Stiffness Test

The whole glove Stiffness Test is measured by comparing gloved hand to bare hand force required to close a mechanical hand. The Stiffness Test uses a pneumatically controlled mechanical hand to measure the stiffness of a glove system. The air pressure required to close the fist to a predetermined point is measured with and without gloves and the stiffness rating is calculated on a percentage basis by comparing the required air pressure for each condition.