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Fully funded PhD Studentship - Understanding of bicycle saddle discomfort (France)

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  • Fully funded PhD Studentship - Understanding of bicycle saddle discomfort (France)

    Fully funded PhD Studentship


    In ecological, economical and healthy perspectives, bicycle commuting has been developed more and more the last few years. Cities give more consideration to these new users of urban networks by building cycle paths, leading to a growing urban cyclist community. Nevertheless, beyond the physical effort and the bad weather which could discourage the less audacious, the discomfort of bicycle saddle is often taken as negative argument.
    For some commuters who are used to long rides as well as for sport cyclists, long hours on the saddle may cause troubles much more serious than a simple feeling of discomfort. The troubles can be under the form of perineal numbness, nodules, irritations, oedemas, erectile dysfunction.
    Consequently, it is necessary to be able to identify the causes of discomfort of bicycle saddles. For that purpose, numerical models are helpful for understanding the phenomenon.

    The goal of this PhD is to determine the factors responsible for the troubles affecting cyclists’ health due to the saddle during the pedalling. To answer to that problem, a finite elements model (FE) of the pelvis and thighs soft tissues, and a musculo-skeletal model (MSK) of a cyclist will be built. The challenge will be the coupling between the two models allowing to get a complete numerical tool of the comfort estimation of a bicycle saddle. This PhD work will also handle the interpretation of the model results. Finally, the validation of such a model will be necessary for the results exploitation.

    First of all, a data collection will be performed for the models building. MRI images are already available in the laboratory for the FE model building. In addition, a movement analysis by Motion Capture will be achieved for the MSK model. The two models will be then validated separately in static and dynamic. A substantial part of the next step will consist in coding for the FE/MSK coupling. That step will be the true challenge of the PhD, providing an innovative method and a great progress in modelling and understanding the interaction bicycle/human body.
    Thanks to this method, new data, such as shear and pressure in soft tissues during pedalling, will be accessible. Nonetheless, no quantitative criterions are currently available for the prediction of lesion risk due to the interaction of the soft tissues with a bicycle saddle. The exploitation of the results will consequently consist in a reflexion on the discomfort criterions to consider and in new ways to evaluate bicycle saddle comfort.

    Keywords: Biomechanics; finite elements model; musculo-skeletal model; motion capture; ergonomics; bicycle; bicycle saddle

    Specific requirements of the project

    • Highly motivated
    • Experience with FE and/or MSK modelling
    • Great knowledge of mechanics
    • Good communication and time management skills
    • Master of science in mechanics engineering or biomechanics engineering

    • Experience with MRI images and image processing
    • Knowledge of hyper-elastic biological materials

    Laboratory LBMC (Laboratoire de Biomécanique et Mécanique des Chocs)
    Advisors Laura DUBUIS (associate professor) / Xuguang WANG (professor)
    Disciplines Biomechanics
    University Université Lyon 1 – Claude Bernard (France)
    Funding 3 years (1764€/month for the years 1 and 2, then 2058€/month for the year 3)
    + 300€/month if teaching tasks
    Deadline 1st of April, 2016
    Beginning date October 2016

  • #2
    Re: Fully funded PhD Studentship - Understanding of bicycle saddle discomfort (France

    Very interesting project.
    I will be applying soon.