Saturday, March 13, 2010

Video of the Moment: Rheology at the Olympics

The video below shows Professor Hatzikirakos's lab at the University of British Columbia.  (It's the same lab that was referenced in this post

(The relevant video starts 15 seconds in.)

The video shows that rheology, and not just polymer science, was part of the research.

1 comment:

  1. I found the speedskating comments fascinating. When I was in grad school at Illinois (Urbana), I speedskated for a few years. (In fact, the same coaches that got Bonnie Blair started also worked with me, proving that even a great coach can't make just anybody a great athlete.)

    In contrast to hockey and figure skates (which are hollow ground), speedskates are flat ground. (Yes, this is completely contradictory to the predictions of the Clapyron equation - too bad for Benoit!) Part of learning how to skate was sharpening your own blades. You'd put the skate in a jig which held them parallel, and then use a large grounding stone to do both blades at the same time. Nip off the burr and you're done: a perfect 90 degree edge.

    So now I'm wondering 1) how a superhydrophobic surface helps and 2) how you would sharpen the skate.

    Regarding '1', it's quite obvious that the real physics of skating are still being discovered. Regarding '2', is the texturing applied with adhesive as a coating that is periodically replaced? If so, then speedskating has lost a grand tradition: noisily sharpening your skates in the hotel room at odd hours to wake up your competitors in the room next door!