Ice Science a Slippery Quandary for Physicists
For years, the popular theory on how skates glide across the ice held that the pressure of the skater’s blade created a layer of meltwater. Physicists now say it would take a gargantuan skater to create enough pressure to melt ice. Instead, they say, slipperiness results from friction, and the strange quasi-water layer that exists on the surface of ice. Friction researcher and avid curler Robert Carpick discusses the tricky physics of ice.
Thanks to KUER for their help on this Olympic series.
Robert Carpick is professor and chair of the department of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.