Do you know why ice slips?

22/05/2017

If you like to skate on ice, here we offer you the answer!


There is an urban legend that states that when we slide on an ice rink with skates, we exert a pressure on the ice due to our weight and that is it is precisely that pressure that creates a thin layer of water under the blades that causes us to slide with ease. 

Although it seems an acceptable explanation to the mystery of the slide of the skates on the ice, it turns out that it is not correct. Explains Clifford Swartz of John Hopkins University in his article Back of the Envelope Physics. The well-known professor Swartz showed that, with a skater of an average weight of 60 kg. and ice hockey skates, the pressure generated can hardly affect the melting point (thawing) of the surface layer of ice. 

So the million dollar question is why ice slips and allows us to enjoy ice skating? A well-founded explanation must be sought further back in time, thanks to the Victorian physicist Michael Faraday. 

Then we can come to the following conclusion: As the water freezes and turns into solid ice, a thin layer of water molecules always remains on the surface, and it is precisely that thin layer of water that causes the ice to slip. , and NO skate pressure. 

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR ICE TRACK MANAGERS: Below -10 ° C, the water layer disappears and the ice is no longer so slippery. Keep this in mind when controlling and maintaining the temperature of your ice rink.