Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Olympic Chemistry: Athletes Get Boost From High Tech Gear

Date:
February 4, 2002
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Olympic athletes may not be thinking of polyaromatic amides and phase diagrams while they race down the slope or skate across the ice this week in Salt Lake City, but polymer chemistry and materials science have improved the performance of skis, ice skates, hockey sticks, sports apparel and other gear used in the winter games.

Olympic athletes may not be thinking of polyaromatic amides and phase diagrams while they race down the slope or skate across the ice this week in Salt Lake City, but polymer chemistry and materials science have improved the performance of skis, ice skates, hockey sticks, sports apparel and other gear used in the winter games.

According to an article in the February 4 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the science behind high-tech gear will be working hard to boost the performance of this winter’s Olympian contenders.

Skis are engineered with a custom blend of materials — which could include wood, wood composite, fiberglass, titanium, carbon fibers, and DuPont’s Kevlar, among others — to make them lightweight, responsive, strong and durable.

Kevlar is often used to silence the vibrations transmitted by fiberglass and carbon fibers in skis, said Brian E. Foy, a DuPont senior marketing specialist and a manger of Kevlar sports applications. “You don’t want skis to chatter — to continue vibrating after impact,” he says. Kevlar helps the skis stay in contact with the snow and conserves the skier’s energy, Foy added.

Before taking to the slopes, most top-level skiers apply a thin layer of wax to the bottom of their skis to act as a lubricant for warm-weather skiing or to provide a slick, smooth surface in hard snow, mentioned Timothy C. Donnelly, Ph.D., a ski enthusiast and chemistry lecturer at the University of California, Davis. Donnelly indicated that some Olympic medal winners have used the all-condition wax he formulated, called Super HotSauce, which reacts to changing conditions from the top to the bottom of a mountain.

According to Todd Brooker, NBC sports commentator and former World Cup skier, some skiers come to the mountain with two sets of skis waxed for different snow conditions. “Missing the wax could mean as much as two or three seconds in total time, which is the difference between first place and 30th,” he said.

Advanced materials also help improve ice skates and sticks for hockey players, athletes who are often rough on their equipment. Ice skates must be lightweight and form-fitting, yet provide support and impact resistance for quick stops and turns on the ice. Manufacturers stabilize the outside of a skate with materials like composites of fiberglass, carbon and graphite fibers and Kevlar. To create a perfect fit inside the skate, they turn to heat-moldable foams and carbon fibers.

A balance of materials, ranging from wood-carbon-glass composites to composites of graphite and Kevlar, is used to ensure the proper flexibility of the hockey stick, which is important because many players actually bend their stick backward as they hit the puck to give the shot more power. If the stick is too rigid, it may shatter on the impact of a high-speed slap shot.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Olympic Chemistry: Athletes Get Boost From High Tech Gear." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020204074853.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2002, February 4). Olympic Chemistry: Athletes Get Boost From High Tech Gear. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020204074853.htm
American Chemical Society. "Olympic Chemistry: Athletes Get Boost From High Tech Gear." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020204074853.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple's new operating system, iOS 8, comes with Apple's killswitch feature already activated, unlike all the models before it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins