Blade size and weight effects in shovel design

Andris Freivalds, Y. J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The shovel is a basic tool that has undergone only nominal systematic design changes. Although previous studies found shovel-weight and blade-size effects of shovelling, the exact trade-off between the two has not been quantified. Energy expenditure, heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion and shovelling performance were measured on five subjects using five shovels with varying blade sizes and weights to move sand. Energy expenditure, normalised to subject weight and load handled, varied quadratically with the blade-size/shovel-weight (B/W) ratio. Minimum energy cost was at B/W = 0·0676 m2/kg, which for an average subject and average load would require an acceptable 5·16 kcal/min of energy expenditure. Subjects, throough the ratings of perceived exertion, also strongly preferred the lighter shovels without regard to blade size. Too large a blade or too heavy a shovel increased energy expenditure beyond acceptable levels, while too small a blade reduced efficiency of the shovelling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-42
Number of pages4
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Blade size and weight effects in shovel design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this