Although in the past there were a lot of issues, synthetic ice has come a long way since it was first attempted for use in the 1960s. It was first built in order for ice skaters to experience the joy of ice skating on a rink that didn’t have to be refrigerated. Synthetic ice was also known as artificial ice because it was, in theory, supposed to replace ice and provide an adequate surface for ice skaters to elegantly glide across in ice skates. However, although there was a valiant attempt towards creating this kind of rink, it did not work as well as they had wished for.
Back in the early 1960s, they used a polyoxymethylene plastic that was developed in the 1950s to create artificial ice. The type of plastic was tough, but it needed to be constantly lubricated in order for the ice skates to glide over it. Even with the lubricants, there still was a significant drag that caused skaters great difficulty when they tried to skate as if they would have on ice.
Skating on Authentic Ice
As most people already know, ice is made out of frozen water. Once the temperature of water drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit the liquid form turns into a solid and becomes ice. When ice skaters glide across the surface of an ice rink, the steel blades of the skates cause friction. This friction is accompanied by just enough heat to melt a tiny amount of the ice on the top of the ice, which acts as a lubricant for the blades. The result is a flawless, easy, and graceful glide across the ice. When a skater learns how to use their body weight and balance to speed up, slow down, and even do crazy tricks there is no limit to what a skilled skater can do on real ice.
Skating on Synthetic Ice
As we mentioned earlier, the first versions of artificial ice were made out of a type of plastic that constantly needed to be lubricated as skaters skated on it. Science and technology have made leaps and bounds since the 1960s, and today the kind of synthetic ice that is available on the market has much more to offer than the old lunky type that started the journey. The developers were able to use the science behind friction and heat to build a kind of synthetic ice that is self-lubricating from lubricants that have been built into the polymer that it is made out of. As skaters glide across the surface of the synthetic ice, a lubricant is dispersed upon the flooring so that the ice skates can glide across the rink much like they would as if they were on ice. Although there is a slight difference in drag, the kind of artificial ice that is available today is about as close to real ice as it has ever been.
Since the first production of synthetic ice, these new features have come into the picture:
- Compact tiles
Hockey on Synthetic Ice
An extremely popular use for synthetic ice in today’s times is hockey. You can build your own rink in the comfort of your own home and take advantage of all of the hockey training aids that are available to strengthen your skills. Tools like puck rebounders and hockey shooting tarps work great on synthetic ice, and the best part is that you can set up a rink just about anywhere that you have a hard flat surface.
Practice and Training
Although synthetic ice has a wide variety of uses, including playing hockey games, it is also very useful for practice and training. Because of the way that the tiles, or panels, can be easily installed in a smaller area the synthetic ice makes for a great way to stay in shape and hone those skills during the pandemic. Synthetic ice panels are safe, easy to install, and will allow you to keep on practicing while the rest of them are sitting on the couch. This pandemic will end, and when it does, you will be ready to score points and win games.