Date of Award

August 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Naira Campbell-Kyureghyan

Committee Members

Scott Campbell, Wilkistar Otieno


Hand Fracture, Hand Fracture Tolerance Limit, Hand PPE, Impact Resistant Gloves, Protection Level






Patrick D. Loshek

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2015

Under the Supervision of Professor Naira Campbell-Kyureghyan

Historically, hand injuries have been a large burden for the manufacturing, construction, mining, oil and gas industries. Specially designed gloves are commonly used in industry today to protect hands from impacts. These gloves are designed to reduce hand injuries by absorbing the impact forces workers may encounter due to objects striking the hand. However, to date, there is no standard for the testing of these gloves and quantifying the force reduction a user would experience when wearing these gloves during an impact. Therefore this research focused on developing and implementing a testing protocol.

The goal of this research was twofold: i) to quantify the hand fracture tolerance limit in five zones (1: the phalanges, 2: metacarpal-phalangeal joint, 3: the metacarpals, 4: first proximal phalange and 5: distal radius and ulna) of the hand, and ii) to test a variety of commercially available gloves claiming impact resistance.

Cadaveric hands were used to establish the tolerance limits, and manikin hands were used for glove testing. Throughout testing the resultant force (from a force plate under the specimen) and the peak force (from force sensors on top of the specimen) were recorded. Gloves were considered to provide adequate protection if the applied impact force was reduced by 50% or more of the mean fracture force for the hand zone.

The specimens were impacted using a guillotine style impact fixture. The drop height was selected to provide a similar force to the reported fracture force of the radius. The impact force was increased until fracture was observed in all zones.

The average hand facture tolerance limit (SD) from the cadaveric hand specimens by zone were found as follows: zone 1 - 3673 (1335) N, zone 2 - 2672 (655) N, zone 3 - 2957 (1321) N, zone 4 - 1439 (355) N, zone 5 - 2399 (1022) N. The facture force was correlated with BMC and BMD independently.

The resultant force measurements revealed that 10%, 100%, 0%, and 89% of the impact resistant gloves met the adequate protection criteria for zones 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively. The peak force measurements revealed that 0%, 100%, 0%, and 100% of the impact resistant gloves met the adequate protection criteria for zones 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively. Zone 5 was not tested, as the gloves did not provide protection to the ulnar region. The resultant force provided a more consistent measure of performance compared to the peak force sensor measurement.