The Effect of Rocker on Ice Friction in Short-Track Speed Skating

More Info


Short-track speed skates are prepared with rocker to improve cornering behavior. However, rocker also has a negative impact on ice friction. As there is currently no scientific theory for selecting optimal rocker profiles, skaters have to rely on personal experience. There is a lack of experimental data available in literature to validate current hypotheses for ice friction. A setup was designed to measure ice friction of an upright skate with varying rocker profiles and normal loads. The experiment was conducted on the artificial ice rink at Thialf, Heerenveen. A sled fitted with two parallel blades was towed at a constant speed of approximately 1.5 ms-1. A force transducer was used to measure friction forces on the sled. Short-track and long-track blades with representative rocker radii were tested. A strong correlation was found between rocker radius and ice friction. Friction forces were found to be on average greater by a factor of 1.868(±0.050) for blades with rocker radius of 10 m compared to 21 m. The results further show high repeatability between tests. This study demonstrates the impact of rocker on ice friction in speed skating. Further research is needed to establish a valid theory for optimal rocker selection. This test method can be used in the future to include different variables, such as ice temperature, sliding speed or blade inclination angle. The method is not limited to short-track speed skating, but can be applied to other disciplines.