Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Sherif M. Waly


Due to the large number of facilities that produce oil and gas with numerous valves used, a review of valve handwheel operation was of interest. Review of literature on two handed handwheel tasks yielded very little and raised questions about what amount of torque a user could exert on a handwheel. The objectives of this research were to determine the effects of height of exertion, orientation of the handwheel and type of handwheel while making two-handed torque exertions, test a custom designed handwheel against commonly distributed handwheels and to determine the effects of gloves commonly used in the oil and gas industry on two-handed torque generation capability. The objectives were addressed through two experiments. In experiment one, it was found that the custom designed handwheel allowed for the generation of significantly different and greater torque than the two industry handwheels, that the height of exertion was significant only in the case of the overhead height, and that the vertical orientation of the handwheel allowed for more torque generation. A second analysis was conducted without the overhead height data which indicated that the custom designed handwheel remained significantly better than the other two handwheels, and that the vertical orientation allowed for the generation of the most torque in the majority of configurations. These results also indicated that floor height is significantly different from the other three heights. The development of a predictive equation for torque capability based on task, anthropometric and strength factors was not as robust as deemed necessary due to the small sample size. The results of the second experiment indicated that no one glove type was significantly different from the other, but that the cotton glove with plastic dotting did allow for the generation of greater torque than the bare-handed condition which was greater than the leather gloved condition. It was also found that the quarter arc handwheel allowed for the generation of significantly greater torque than did the circular handwheel. The effect of gender was also seen with females generating 46.78% of the torque of males.