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 September 16, 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 September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Science News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finally Reaches Long-Term Goal

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finally Reaches Long-Term Goal

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — After more than two years, NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover reached Mount Sharp, its long-term destination. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft to Buy 'Minecraft' Maker for $2.5B

Microsoft to Buy 'Minecraft' Maker for $2.5B

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — Microsoft will acquire the maker of the long-running hit game Minecraft for $2.5 billion as the company continues to invest in its Xbox gaming platform and looks to grab attention on mobile phones. (Sept. 15) 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:
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