Implementing spring-foam technology to design a lightweight and comfortable aircraft seat-pan

S. Dangal*, M. Smulders, P. Vink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


This paper investigates whether spring-foam technology in an aircraft seat-pan can reduce weight and at the same time provide equal or better comfort. Firstly, through literature studies and using an iterative design process a prototype seat-pan was designed and developed using spring-foam technology. The (dis)comfort of this seat was compared with a standard aircraft seat-pan. Twenty two participants were asked to sit in each seat for 90 min, completing a questionnaire every 15 min. At the end of each seating session pressure map recordings were made of the seat-pans. The results showed that the prototype seat-pan has on average a significantly higher comfort for the first 30 min and at a 60 min recording than the standard seat-pan. The discomfort and long term comfort were not significantly influenced. The pressure distribution on the prototype seat-pan was significantly closer to an ideal pressure distribution than a conventional seat-pan. In addition, the prototype seat-pan had a significantly larger contact area and lower average pressure. The seat-cushion weighs 20% less than the conventional seat-cushion. The study indicates that a seat-pan design using spring-foam technology can be lighter and more comfortable than conventional foam cushion materials. It is recommended to optimize the prototype seat further and conduct long term (dis)comfort studies with a broader variation in subjects’ age.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103174
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Aircraft seat
  • Comfort
  • Ideal seat contour
  • Pressure distribution


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