Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ski Sports: Simulating gliding effects to develop super fast skis

Date:
January 11, 2010
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
In ski sports, it's often only a second that separates the winners from the losers. Using equipment made of the right materials can therefore make all the difference. Researchers are simulating the gliding effects that occur when skis travel over snow -- and creating super fast skis.

A transponder on the skier's leg measures their precise speed, allowing the researchers to establish which wax makes the skis go faster.
Credit: Copyright Fraunhofer IWM

You couldn't have asked for a better day for a competition. It's minus five degrees, the sun's shining and there's not a breath of wind. The snow's perfect and the biathlete's in top form. He's one of the best -- he can win the race. Often there's only a few thousandths of a second between the victor and the vanquished, so the gliding ability of his skis is very important. And this depends on several factors, not least whether the wax mixture he's applied suits the particular type of snow.

Anyone looking for optimal ski performance must first understand the laws of friction. That is why wax and ski coating manufacturers are counting on the expertise of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg. The scientists have been studying the gliding ability of skis and know how to make ski athletes go like the wind. Prof. Dr. Matthias Scherge, Head of the new Microtrobilogy Center in Karlsruhe, says: "The snow, the ski coating and the wax that is applied all unite to form a single entity. We can't alter the snow, but we can adapt both the wax and the coating to suit particular snow conditions."

The researchers use a special technique to analyze the friction and gliding effects; they simulate the contact between a single snow crystal and the coating with the aid of a test rig, and then measure the coefficient of friction in relation to temperature. "It's the first 10 to 15 nanometers of the coating surface that determine the gliding effects," explains Scherge. And they have another item of equipment in their armory as well: a ski tribometer. Here, a small section of ski travels in a circle over a snow-covered disc, allowing the researchers to test different combinations of waxes and coatings and ascertain the optimum combinations for specific conditions such as temperature.

The ultimate test is then conducted in the ski hall, where biathletes perform glide tests on a hundred-meter test run with a defined gradient. Their times are measured with the aid of a leg-mounted transponder, which guarantees split-second accuracy; this enables the researchers to establish how many thousandths of a second can be shaved off their times by the right combination of ski coating and wax.

The researchers are working with Holmenkol and other partners to develop novel waxes and super fast coatings. Scherge says: "We've talked with athletes and also with the technicians who wax their skis prior to every competition. It's only with their knowledge and experience that we'll be able to create skis that glide perfectly."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Ski Sports: Simulating gliding effects to develop super fast skis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100108114721.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2010, January 11). Ski Sports: Simulating gliding effects to develop super fast skis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100108114721.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Ski Sports: Simulating gliding effects to develop super fast skis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100108114721.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Science News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) Japan's bullet train turns 50 Wednesday. Here's a look at how it's changed over half a century — and the changes it's inspired globally. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


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