If you are into ice hockey or like to ice skate it is likely that you have heard of synthetic ice. Some people have really good things to say about it, others may not. However, one thing that is true is that if you have high-quality synthetic ice flooring installed you can not only ice skate in all weather, but also save money and resources by not having to power an ice rink.
What is Synthetic Ice?
Of course, everybody should already know that real ice is actually water that has been frozen. I order to keep water frozen it has to be kept at a temperature that is lower than freezing. As soon as the temperature rises above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it begins to melt. When the weather outside is upwards of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, ice begins to melt very quickly.
Synthetic ice, on the other hand, is made out of a special polymer plastic that never needs to be frozen or refrigerated. Because it is designed from polymers, it has the capacity to be sculpted into a strong, slick surface that is resistant to breakdown by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The best part about it is that it does not need to be installed in a refrigerated enclosure. In fact, you can install it in your own home and be able to skate whenever you want.
Ice Skating on Synthetic Ice
When a skater slides across a conventional ice skating rink a little bit of science happens in order for the process to work. As the ice skate’s blades move across the surface of the ice the friction causes just enough heat to melt a thin layer of water just big enough for the blades of the skates to gently glide across the surface of the ice. The water acts as a lubricant and allows for a smooth experience as the skater skates around the rink.
Synthetic ice that has been crafted in a high-grade fashion will act much like real ice. As we discussed above, synthetic ice is made out of polymer plastics. Polymers are naturally occurring chains of large molecules that bond together in order to form certain types of matter. The human body is made out of a type of polymer known as DNA. When it comes to the polymers of synthetic ice, the devourers are able to bond lubricants as polymers into the structure of the flooring in order to create a solid mass that is equipped with self-lubricating properties at the cellular level.
What all of this means is that when ice skaters glide across synthetic ice, the blades of the skates will pull lubricant from the flooring a lot like what happens on real ice.
When you play hockey on this kind of flooring you can skate much like you were skating on real ice. You can even pull some mean hockey deke moves once you get used to the way the flooring feels under your skates.
The Slight Drag
Although it is very similar to real ice, scientists have not completely figured out how to exactly replicate ice. As a result of this, there is a slight drag difference between when you skate on ice and on artificial ice. It is not a significant enough of a difference that makes it impossible to skate, but it is enough to notice. The one thing about the added resistance is that it can make a skater stronger, and increase stamina. It may take a moment to get used to, but the payoff is worth it in the end.
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