Are Synthetic Ice Tiles LIke Slick Tiles?

Are Synthetic Ice Tiles LIke Slick Tiles?


Among the many hockey training aids that are available on the market today the ones that get the most asked questions are synthetic ice tiles and dryland hockey tiles. Because of the way that they are labeled it can cause confusion for people that are not familiar with them. When a skater wants to install an ice skating rink in the home, which is the best way to do it? If a skater would rather use inline skates, what is the bests flooring for that? We are writing this article in hopes to shed a little light on the topic if anybody that is interested in knowing.

What are Synthetic Ice Tiles

Synthetic ice tiles are built for ice skates and ice skaters. They have been around for many years. In the beginning, the ice tiles were cumbersome and needed a lot of work in order to be able to accommodate skaters. Most of the synthetic ice that is made today is formed into panels instead of tiles because they are larger and made to cover a vast area. Tiles are one square foot, and panels are usually two feet wide and four feet long. 

Synthetic ice is made out of specially formulated polymer plastic that is infused with lubricants, conditioners, and UV ray protectants. The lubricants that are embedded in the plastic allow the ice skates to flow across the surface gently and easily as if they were gliding across ice.

What Are Hockey Tiles

Hockey tiles can mean a variety of things. The most common definition is dryland hockey flooring. This type of flooring is made more for sneakers and inline skates than ice skates. In fact, it is not recommended to even attempt to ice skate on dryland hockey tiles.

The difference between dryland hockey flooring and synthetic ice flooring is that one dryland flooring is for dryland hockey sports that don’t involve ice. You can play or practice hockey on dryland flooring with pucks or balls. 

Dryland flooring is a little bit more pliable and softer than synthetic ice tiles. Although they are both made out of specialized plastic, they are made for different uses so the end products differ greatly.

What Kind of Flooring is Best

The best kind of flooring to use will be the type of flooring that will best meet your needs. For example, if you are an ice skater, it would be better for you to install synthetic ice than to install dryland hockey flooring. As we mentioned earlier, both types of flooring are great, but one has different properties than the other. If you are more into playing hockey with inline skates or tennis shoes, your best bet would most likely be dryland hockey flooring or slick tiles. 

Slick Flooring

Both dryland flooring and synthetic ice flooring were designed in order to provide the slickest experience possible for the pucks that go across the surface. Whether you are playing with ice skates or not, you will most likely be using pucks when you play. This means that it is beneficial for the flooring that you use to be slick enough for the puck to glide across it as if it were on real ice. The best way to ensure that you will have great, slick flooring is to purchase high-quality flooring products. Make sure that when you get your flooring that it comes from a respected dealer with a great reputation.

***Sniper’s Edge Hockey loves Canada! We proudly ship all of our products to Canada and offer the same return policies as we do for everybody else. We realize the exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are not the best right now, so we’re trying to help by giving you free shipping and no customs/duty.***

The Secret Behind Why Modern Synthetic Ice is So Slick

The Secret Behind Why Modern Synthetic Ice is So Slick


One of the biggest struggles hockey has faced since its invention has been figuring out how to play hockey during warmer seasons. Winter is a wonderland for hockey players because just about anywhere they go, assuming they’re in the right place geographically, they can find a frozen pond to skate around on. Once spring rolls around and it starts to get warmer out, things start to thaw, and playing hockey is a little trickier. One solution has been synthetic ice. Synthetic ice has been around since the 1840s and it’s improved quite a lot since then, but how has it been able to do so?

Many people have a vested interest in making hockey easier to play during the warmer months because, well, they play the game themselves or it’s something that someone they love likes playing. Technology and our understanding of science keeps improving, so synthetic ice has continued to improve as well. Let’s take a look at the journey that synthetic ice has taken since its creation up until this point in time.

The Humble Beginnings of Synthetic Ice

In the early 1840s, two men by the names of Henry Kirk and William Bradwell put their heads together to create and patent the first form of synthetic ice the world had ever seen. Kirk was the inventor of this synthetic ice, and Bradwell was an architect. Kirk filed his patent for his Substitute for Ice Skating and Sliding Purposes, and they began their first exhibitions. This was the first ever instance of a rink of any size made up of synthetic ice. Their ice was made of a chemical compound that contained no water, which made it even more interesting at the time.

Their first exhibition was at a nursery near Dorset Square. They had the intention of showing their invention to investors in hopes that they could have a permanent attraction that would be open to the public, assuming that they had the funds to get in the door. This, unfortunately for Kirk and Bradwell, didn’t go the way they expected. They failed to secure any funding with their first attempt. This would not be their last attempt though.

Shortly after their first failure, they went on to do another exhibition at Regents Park, where they managed to secure a small investor to help them achieve their goal. With that funding, they opened up a 3000 square foot rink in the middle of Portman Square. It was decorated with paintings and even had a live band playing for the skaters. This was a hit among the public, but only for a short time. Before too long people lost interest, and they had to close down this rink.

In 1876, another synthetic ice rink was created in Chelsea. This time the synthetic ice was created with water. The way that this worked is that they would flood a room with copper pipes at the bottom of it. It only took about 2-3 inches of water to flood it to the proper depth. Once the room was flooded, they would release a combination of ether, glycerin, and water to freeze the flooded room. The craziest thing about this is that it worked… kind of. It worked well enough for two more rinks to be opened exactly like the first one, at least, but there was a major issue with this system.

A side effect of the chemical reactions that were freezing the water made the room almost unbearably cold. The ice in the rink was also incredibly cold, so cold in fact that any skaters that braved the rink had to deal with thick plumes of mist rising up. That meant a lot less visibility for the skaters, which made skating an ordeal, to say the least. Oddly enough, one location that used this technology managed to stay open for ten years before it finally had to close its doors. It would be almost a century before humanity saw synthetic ice again.

A Synthetic Ice Revival

In the 1950s, American chemical company DuPont was tasked with figuring out a way to create synthetic ice for hockey players. They had done their research and found out about the two attempts in the past, and decided that Henry Kirk had the right idea when he decided that he didn’t want to use any water in his mixture, so while he never saw any financial success from his endeavor, he was still able to make a difference in the future of synthetic ice.

The way that DuPont saw it, they needed to make something that would be impossible to melt within reasonable temperature ranges, and so that’s what they set out to do. It wasn’t long before they created their first synthetic ice. It was made of polyoxymethylene plastic, which wasn’t perfect. The biggest flaw that people saw with it is that you couldn’t glide, and a silicone lubricant needed to be used in order for it to be workable at all.

It wasn’t until the early 1980s that we would start to see synthetic ice in interlocking tiles as we see them today. When the tiled synthetic was first created, its biggest selling point was that all you needed to do was remove the tile, spray it down with the lubricant, and put it back once a month. It could also be used for other sports when not using it for hockey, which made it a big hit among multi-purpose sporting centers.

Saying that synthetic ice got big might be a bit of an understatement. The concept of having a skating rink even in states and cities that don’t have the proper climate for such a thing thrilled thousands of people. Having synthetic ice meant you could even open a year-round outdoor skating rink in California and not think anything of it. Of course, it had its shortcomings, but that was a trade-off many people were willing to make.

The Current State of Synthetic Ice

Time continued to pass, as time does, so of course, more research and development was done on synthetic ice. It was clear to everyone that was paying attention that synthetic ice was going to be a real cash cow in the right communities if done correctly. There was a high demand for high-quality synthetic ice that can be used in any climate. After all, the demand had clearly been demonstrated since the last major advancement. People were clamoring for more and more advanced synthetic ice that could be skated on without as much drag as the synthetic ice that they knew. The goal was to make a synthetic ice that could match true ice as closely as possible, and probably make a killing in the process.

At this point, it gets a little trickier to pinpoint exactly where each bit of progress came from because everything started happening a lot more quickly. Before long polymethylene plastic was replaced with high-density polyethylene, which was able to provide a much higher glide factor than its predecessor without using as much lubricant to make it happen. Even with this change in materials, they still used that same interlocking tile format because it truly was easy.

High-density polyethylene was the most advanced material used for synthetic ice for a very long time, and any time you skated on synthetic ice you could be sure that that’s what it was made of. That is, until very recently.

As you probably know from simply existing, people are always trying to make things better and better. Synthetic ice is no exception to that. If a company could come up with a better way to make synthetic ice, they could stand to make a whole lot of money. Research and development continued, and then recently some manufacturers started using ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene to make their synthetic ice. Sometimes synthetic ice made of this material even outperforms true ice’s glide factor by up to 10-15%.

If you go skating on a synthetic ice rink today, odds are that they’re using either high-density polyethylene or ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene. While the latter may have a higher glide factor, you can still tell that you aren’t on real ice. With technology as it is now, you still can’t beat true ice.

The Future of Synthetic Ice

It’s unlikely that people will stop trying to make synthetic ice better and better. That’s one of the most beautiful things about people, we have a tendency to refine things until they’re perfect. Right now it’s hard to say exactly what the future of synthetic ice will look like, and who knows what kind of developments they’ll come up with next. It’s possible that in the next ten or twenty years they’ll actually come out with a synthetic ice that’s better than true ice in every way possible. Or maybe we’ll hit a plateau and it will be impossible to further improve upon at some point. Either way, it will be very exciting for every hockey player to see.

In Your Physical Prime? This Doesn’t Mean An Injury Is Avoidable. How To Avoid Common Injuries While Running?

In Your Physical Prime? This Doesn’t Mean An Injury Is Avoidable. How To Avoid Common Injuries While Running?


Running is an unmatched exercise, and you cannot replicate the feeling of a great run. This is especially true when you have finally found the perfect pair of running shoes. There has been a lot of love for running shoe brands such as ASIC, Brooks, and Mizuno mainly because their shoes are manufactured specifically to help prevent injuries while running.

Running-related injuries affect nearly one in three recreational runners at some point during their lives. In roughly three out of four cases, injuries associated with running involve the lower leg. Injuries to the knee, ankle, shin and foot are common. Additionally, runners are likely to suffer from back problems and groin injuries as well. There is a risk of injury when running, but most injuries can be prevented if you follow simple guidelines like choosing the right pair of shoes, warming up, wearing the right clothes, and not pushing yourself too hard.

The most common running injuries occur in the legs, such as shin splints, tight IT bands, cramps and blisters. It is also common to experience back pain, especially in the pelvis region. It is possible to avoid these injuries in a few simple ways. Still, if you experience repeated/prolonged pain in an area, it is essential to seek medical advice to find the cause and start treatment.

Select Proper Running Shoes

Choosing the right running shoes is essential when it comes to getting the most out of your running. Visit an athletic or specialty running-shoe store that knows what shoe type is best for your running style rather than wearing shoes that are too old or aren’t suitable for your foot. Additionally, the type of socks can also play a role in preventing blisters. Be sure to stick with what you know. You should wear comfortable running shoes and socks whenever you run.

Evaluate Your Fitness Level

Using a fitness assessment, you can set realistic training goals based on your strength, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. Find out how you can implement an assessment and set goals with a certified trainer.

Cross-Training

If you only run in your training, you are more likely to sustain overuse injuries. As you cross-train, you increase your cardiovascular endurance while giving your running muscles a break. If your workouts get monotonous, mix it up with pool workouts, elliptical workouts, or bike workouts. Maintain your flexibility and strength to avoid fatigue in your running muscles.

Stretching

You can prevent injuries by stretching before and after training – every time you run. Create a routine that involves stretching the major muscle groups of your upper and lower extremities. Staying hydrated and stretching are two of the most essential aspects of running. It would be best if you took the time to stretch before running.

As you can see, the methods mentioned above are influenced mainly by individual running patterns, choice of ease, and training levels; however, it does come down to selecting the best running shoes available in Australia. In Australia, Stringer Sports Store offers Brooks running shoes, ASICS running shoes, and Mizuno running shoes for runners who want to reduce their injuries while running. Feel free to contact them or visit them in-store to help you fulfil any of your running needs.

Synthetic Ice is The Way of the Future

Synthetic Ice is The Way of the Future


As the world continues to catapult higher into the digital age of computers and artificial intelligence, the rest of the industries out there are following along. For hundreds of years ice skaters and hockey players have preferred the traditional ice skating rinks that were made out of true blue frozen water, but the way things are moving along in the modern world, ice rinks might be a thing of the past and synthetic ice will be the new ice skating king.

The Problem With Ice Rinks

Most people are already aware that ice is nothing more than an accumulation of frozen water. As long as the ambient temperature that surrounds the frozen water stays below a freezing temperature, the ice will be solid and ready to skate on. The moment that the temperature drops below freezing, is the moment that the ice slowly begins to convert back to water.

In order for the ice to remain ice the whole area that it is housed in needs to be kept at a low temperature. If it is not freezing in the air around the building that is keeping the ice frozen, the ice will begin to melt. The entire building that the ice is house in needs to be kept at lower temperatures. If it is over 100 degrees outside, it is impossible to keep the temperature down below freezing without using a high-powered cooling system to keep everything nice and cold. In most cases, the energy that it takes to run an air conditioner of the caliber is very high. Not to mention the harmful vapors that come from the overworked cooling system.

Although there are many different arguments around the facts about real ice and the way that it has to be cared for, one thing that does stand true. Water has to be kept frozen in order to be an effective ice rink.

Enter Synthetic Ice

Many years ago, back in the 1960s a group of developers got together and manufactured the first instance of synthetic ice. They called it artificial ice a few times in the beginning, but the term synthetic has earned its keep in the industry.

At first, the ice panels were crude and hard to skate on. Whenever the skaters were skating on it workers had to constantly administer a gliding agent that was made out of a silicone base. As long as the flooring had the lubricant on it, it was slippery enough for skaters to skate on. However, the silicone left a less-than-pleasant residue on the surface of the flooring that caused problems for the skaters. The residue had to be removed and scraped off over and over again in order to allow skaters to skate.

As time went by, developers were able to use science and molecular discoveries to create different types of plastics that were hand-crafted to deliver a specific type of plastic product. With the help of polymers and a bunch of smart people, developers were able to create a type of synthetic ice that mimicked real ice in the way that it would deliver its own lubricant from the compounds that were infused with the plastic in the process of manufacturing. Since the lubricant can be bonded inside of the plastic and infused with the material, it can be brought to the surface when skaters skate across it. This works much like melted ice does in order to deliver a natural lubricant for the skaters.

Conclusion

Although there still is a long way in the journey towards eliminating real ice rinks for good, synthetic ice is coming along. One day the developers will create a type of ice flooring that is so exactly like real ice, there will be no need for natural ice hockey flooring and the rinks will no longer need exuberant amounts of energy to stay in business.

***Sniper’s Edge Hockey loves Canada! We proudly ship all of our products to Canada and offer the same return policies as we do for everybody else. We realize the exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are not the best right now, so we’re trying to help by giving you free shipping and no customs/duty.***

Why People Prefer Synthetic Ice

Why People Prefer Synthetic Ice


Believe it or not, there are a lot of people that prefer synthetic ice rinks over traditional ice rinks. Although the topic of each can be quite controversial, one thing that everybody can agree on is that it is much easier to install an ice skating rink in your home, made out of synthetic ice, than it is out of frozen water. As the quality of synthetic ice has gotten better over the years, some might agree that it would be best to get rid of traditional ice rinks altogether.

Real Ice vs. Synthetic Ice

The great thing about frozen water ice is that when skaters skate across it they can glide right along without much resistance. The reason for this is that the water that the ice is made out of will melt just a little bit when the ice skating blades run across it. The heat from the friction gives the ice a natural lubricant so that the ice skates just breeze on across the surface like they were on air.

When it comes to synthetic ice, it is made out of a polymer-based plastic that allows for special, customized molecular manipulation and additives to bring forth a sophisticated piece of high-quality plastic that holds the elements of lubrication, UV ray protection, durability, and light weight. The way that the ice flooring is manufactured allows it to be as much like real ice as possible. When the ice skates glide across the surface the pressure releases particles of lubricant that is embedded within the ice panels that coats the surface and allows the skates to flow.

The drag from the synthetic ice is a little bit more than the drag from the real ice, but not enough to make skating impossible or overly difficult. The traditional ice is smoother, but the synthetic ice does not have to be frozen and can be installed just about anywhere there is a flat surface.

The Costs of Frozen Water

Frozen water ice rinks are nice for ice skaters, however, they are not cheap to run. Yes, in the winter months if it is already below freezing temperatures outside it is not hard to keep an ice rink frozen and maintained. However, if it is during the hot months and over 100 degrees outside, it takes a considerable amount of energy and resources in order to keep the rink cold enough to keep it frozen. Defending on the location of the rink and the surrounding costs of electricity in that area, it could cost thousands of dollars per week to keep the rink frozen. Not to mention all of the exhaust that comes from the cooling equipment adds to the already polluted air in the environment. The cost is more than just money.

Conclusion

It is easy to see that when people install synthetic ice panels or hockey tiles in their own homes, that they do not have to struggle with the costs of extra cooling systems or other cumbersome bills that the real ice rink would bring. All the people need to do is find a flat, hard surface to build the rink upon and start skating…just like that. Although there may be some issues with the factories that manufacture ice panels causing damage to the environment, the damage that running air conditioners nonstop is much worse. The cost to play hockey or any other ice-related sport is what the individual makes it. People prefer synthetic ice panels because they are generally safer for the environment, and much less costly to maniatin.

***Sniper’s Edge Hockey loves Canada! We proudly ship all of our products to Canada and offer the same return policies as we do for everybody else. We realize the exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are not the best right now, so we’re trying to help by giving you free shipping and no customs/duty.***

Is Synthetic Ice Easy to Ice Skate On?

Is Synthetic Ice Easy to Ice Skate On?


There are varying opinions regarding the ease of ice skating on synthetic ice. Some people say that when they try to skate on it they have a hard time gliding across the flooring without experiencing snags and stops. Other people love skating on synthetic ice panels, and can’t tell the difference. What it all boils down to is the quality of the ice panels. If you skate on quality ice flooring, you will most likely have an easy and pleasant skating experience. As for synthetic ice being easy to skate on…that’s a matter of opinion.

Synthetic Ice and Ice Skates

What happens when ice skates glide across real ice as they skate around the rink is that the metal blades cause heat to appear where the blades touch the ice. This heat, in turn, causes a little bit of the ice to melt as the skates travel across it. As the blades from the skates continue to stay in contact with the ice, the ice continues to melt as the skaters glide on. The water from the melting ice acts as a natural lubricant for the skates and everything just smoothly makes its way around the track.

Synthetic ice, on the other hand, is not made out of water. Because it is created out of a plastic substance, the way that the plastic was created will determine the way that the ice skates will interact with the flooring as people skate across it.

In the old days, when artificial ice was first created, the flooring had to be lubricated and maintained in order for people to be able to skate on it. At first, the lubrication had to be applied constantly during the use of the flooring, or it would not allow skaters to be able to move very well at all across it. On top of the constant application of lubricant, since the lube was silicone-based, it had to be continually scraped and removed from the surface or it would cause a glue-like buildup that hindered the skaters.

At that point in time, artificial ice was not easy to skate on. It took a lot of extra effort in order for people to skate on it. The skating experience was nothing like the easy, smooth glide of skating on real ice.

Synthetic Ice of Today

The synthetic ice that is available on the market today is much different than it was in the 1960s. The type of plastic that manufacturers use is a polymer-based plastic that was not used back then. With polymers, the developers are able to create a type of plastic that is infused with conditioners, lubricating agents, and other compounds that can change the molecular structure of the flooring in a way that allows it to almost completely mimic synthetic ice. When skaters glide across the surface, the friction creates a disturbance in the plastic that causes the lubricants within to come to the surface…much like water gets produced from the heat on the ice. When skaters skate on high-quality synthetic ice it is much like skating on real ice. There is a little bit of a drag, but not enough to be difficult or impossible to skate across. In fact, the drag helps to build strength and stamina for the skaters.

So…Is it Easy?

Ice skating is not easy regardless of what flooring it is on. Although skating on real ice is the most natural form of ice skating, the people that skate on artificial ice can skate on it just as easily as they can on real ice. Easy is a word that is subject to interpretation. Skating on synthetic ice might be easier for some than it is for others. The experience and skill level of the skater, coupled with the quality of the ice flooring will determine whether or not it is actually easy for the particular individual.

***Sniper’s Edge Hockey loves Canada! We proudly ship all of our products to Canada and offer the same return policies as we do for everybody else. We realize the exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are not the best right now, so we’re trying to help by giving you free shipping and no customs/duty.***

Improve Your Bowling and Turn Some Heads with These Tips

Improve Your Bowling and Turn Some Heads with These Tips


If you bowl regularly, then you will probably want to improve your bowling. When you attend bowling parties, you will want to show off your bowling skills and impress everyone. If you want to turn heads with your bowling efforts, then joining a bowling club Middlesex can be helpful. The bowling club can help you hone your bowling skills. If you are looking for ways to improve your bowling, then we have some handy tips for you.

Tips to Improve Your Bowling

Here are some very useful tips to help you take your bowling skills to the next level.

  • Choose the right bowling ball. The ball should be 10% of your body weight. Choose a ball where the finger holes are just perfect and not too big or small.
  • It is important that you do not overstretch your hand while bowling. Here is a tip to help you. The space between your hand and the palm must fit a pencil below your palm.
  • If you want to be a pro, then you need to buy your own bowling ball. If you want to ace the hook shots, then a ball with a urethane coverstock will help. It provides better friction. A resin coverstock is a better option since it effectively digs into the oil on the lane.
  • A proper stance is essential to get a strike. Your foot should be aimed at the head pin. Your left second toe should be aimed at the one pin. With practice, you will find this foot placement very helpful in improving your bowling. This tip is useful if you are right-handed. If you are left-handed, then consider the right toe.
  • Do not bend your wrist or flex it. Hold the hand straight when you swing the ball out and back. Rotate your wrist, hand, and fingers in the direction opposite to your body. When you release the ball, do it at the ankle’ position. Once the ball is released, your hand must be in the handshake position. This is the perfect way to attempt a strike.
  • Let your eyes focus on the target as you release the ball. Look at the marks on the lane that are given to help guide the ball towards the target.
  • The right combination of angle, speed, and strength is what helps you make a strike. You will get it right through proper practice.

All in All

Bowling is incredibly fun! Work on these tips, and you can make heads turn with your bowling efforts next time.

Where Does Synthetic Ice Come From?

Where Does Synthetic Ice Come From?


One of the greatest inventions to ever hit the planet is synthetic ice. People that love to play hockey on ice, and ice skaters that need to be out on the rink can create their own skating rinks at home with ease. Synthetic ice tiles are simple to install, durable, versatile, and do not need refrigeration to stay perfect for skating. But, where does synthetic ice come from? Is it made out of magical mysterious compounds that allow skaters to freely flow across the surface much like they would as if they were skating on frozen water? Maybe. Read on.

Artificial Ice Flooring in the 1960s

Synthetic ice and artificial ice are the same things if you look at it from the perspective of flooring. However, artificial ice is really the stuff that the movies use to make things look frozen or like they are snowing. In any event, artificial ice flooring back in the 1960s is where it all began.

Although plans for developing a type of flooring that would allow people to ice skate across it on ice skates had been in the makings for several years prior to the first experience of the flooring, the first time synthetic ice actually made a public appearance was in the 60s. At that time there were not as many resources available to create an appropriate type of flooring that would accommodate ice skaters the way the synthetic ice of today does. In other words, it wasn’t until a couple of decades later that developers discovered a fantastic way to create the ultimate synthetic ice flooring.

The early days of synthetic ice were trying, to say the least. However, they were very promising. For example, in order for skaters to successfully glide across the flooring maintenance, people had to continually apply a silicone-based gliding agent that helped the skaters to glide. Unfortunately, this application caused a buildup that was dangerous for the skaters unless it was scraped off and removed on a regular basis. By regular, we mean a couple of times during a game or an event.

Synthetic Ice Evolves

As time passed by, developers gained more knowledge and skills when it came to creating and processing a type of ice flooring that could almost mimic real ice. The way they were able to get to where they are today is by way of synthetic plastic-based polylnmers.

Polymers are molecular chains that join together and bond in a way that is similar to a real chain. There are naturally occurring polymers that are very popular and used every day such as DNA, hair, and types of proteins. Synthetic polymers are polymers that are created out of molecules and fused together by man instead of being naturally developed by nature. The science behind producing polymer plastics is that the developer can create a perfectly sculpted product that is infused with lubricants and other agents by starting at the molecular level. They can bind molecules together that form chains similar to DNA, and other natural polymers that are strong, versatile, and long-lasting.

Thanks to the new technology of polymers and other discoveries manufactures can create synthetic ice panels that have lubricants and other essential elements that promote an ice-like experience for the skaters that get to skate on them. The infused agents are activated by the skaters skating across the surface, much like ice melts to provide a thin layer of water for lubrication.

The Answer to the Question

Synthetic ice comes from years of hard work, determination, and lots of brilliance. Of course, it is made in a manufacturing factory somewhere, but the idea and the perfection come from decades of innovative entrepreneurs developers, and inventors.

***Sniper’s Edge Hockey loves Canada! We proudly ship all of our products to Canada and offer the same return policies as we do for everybody else. We realize the exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are not the best right now, so we’re trying to help by giving you free shipping and no customs/duty.***

A Peek Into the Science Behind Synthetic Ice

A Peek Into the Science Behind Synthetic Ice

Even before the great pandemic of 2020 synthetic ice was growing steadily in popularity due the fact that it can be easily installed in the home and turn a once boring area into a full-fledged ice skating rink. As the quality of this amazing flooring has improved over the years it has become more and more accepted as a reputable alternative to traditional ice.

Although the existence of artificial ice flooring was a bit rough in the beginning, modern-day advances in technology have allowed the creation of polymer plastics to come a long way. As with most of the other great discoveries throughout history, the development of synthetic ice flooring for the purpose of ice skating has been honed and sharpened into what it is today. 

A Brief Background of Artificial Ice Flooring

Technically, artificial ice and synthetic ice are not the same things. Where artificial ice is more like the fake snow that you find during the holidays, synthetic ice plastics are more for the kind of flooring that is used in order to create an ice skating rink that will be usable in all weather conditions.

The idea to create a kind of flooring that would allow ice skating without the need for refrigerated buildings during the warmer months came into focus in the 1950s. A couple of well-known plastic manufacturers came together with ideas that would eventually turn into the synthetic ice that is available on the market today.

It took close to a decade for these ideas to come to reality, but after much hard work and preparation, in the 1960s developers manufactured their first batch of synthetic ice flooring.

Although it was a success in many ways, it was also a bit of a trainwreck.

The synthetic ice flooring that we know today is much different from the type that was around back then because it is equipped with self-lubricating technology. The first instances of plastic ice were a little rough because the only way that people could actually skate across the flooring is if there was a constant supply of lubricant applied during use. 

The lubrication that was used for this flooring back in those days was a silicone-based substance that worked well as a gliding agent, but would have to be cleaned up and cleared away every hour or so because the silicone would leave a residue behind that caused the floor to get covered in a gummy residue that caused more harm than good for skaters.

The Advancement Of Polymer Plastics

Polymers are an integral part of life and are existent in most of the objects that surround us. In fact, our DNA molecules are a great example of how polymer chains work. On a molecular level, polymer chains are composed of large molecules that are chained together to form a material substance such as cotton, wool, or other substances.

Chemical corporations have put the knowledge and the power of science to good use in the creation of everyday products that people use around the world. From water bottles to automotive parts plastics play a gigantic role in the manufacture and production of goods around the globe.

When it comes to the science behind how synthetic ice is created, there is no exception to the minuscule properties that go into the creation of this marvelous entity. Synthetic hockey flooring is created with care on a molecular level.

Developers can actually develop customized polymer chains that make up the matter that synthetic ice is based on. Before the plastic even becomes a solid flooring, the creators can manipulate the cells of the creation and add various conditioners and lubricants into the formula that will act as desired when the flooring transforms from a formless base to a hardened floor panel.

Skating on Traditional Ice

One of the biggest reasons why ice skaters prefer to skate on traditional ice is that it is so easy to glide across and does not offer much resistance to the skater. There is no extra bit of energy that needs to be expelled in order to get from one end of the rink to the next. For the most part, once the skater gets going on the ice, it is an easy, almost effortless task to move across the rink and build up speed.

The reason why it is so easy to glide across the surface is that the bottoms of the ice skate blades are made of steel, and they create friction on the top of the ice. Whenever there is friction, heat soon follows. Since ice is really only frozen water it is not hard to figure out that the way that the blades glide so easily is that they heat up the ice and cause water to emerge in its place. 

Not much water, just enough to create a slick line of lubricant so that the skates have nothing to slow them down as they glide. Just an easy, hassle-free maneuver that allows the skater to almost fly over the ice rink and move as they will.

The Science Explained

We mentioned earlier in this article that synthetic ice panels can be created on the molecular level. It is within this process that the concept of true ice comes into view. When the lubricants and conditioners that allow for self-lubrication of the flooring are activated by the ice skate blades digging into the surface of the flooring come to the top of the flooring as the skates come upon it, the entire science of water and ice becoming a lubricant is mimicked in the plastic.

Along the same lines as some of the fruits and vegetables that we eat are genetically engineered before they even become plants, is the science behind the creation of high-quality synthetic ice flooring. Although the ice panels are formed in a factory and not grown from the earth like a plant from a seed, the plastic that makes up the panels is engineered by developers to deliver specifically designed properties that can be activated under certain circumstances such as heat or touch.

Benefits of Synthetic Ice Flooring

Some of the best benefits of synthetic ice flooring over traditional ice rinks are the actual costs of not needing a refrigerated area to ice skate on when the heat comes. In order to maintain a fully functional ice rink during the hot summer months, it has to be housed in an area large enough to accommodate the size of the rink, along with the temperature of freezing water. Among lowered costs there are:

  • Energy savings
  • Building ice rinks anywhere
  • Ice skating at home
  • Build stronger muscles
  • Easy to maintain

One of the lesser mentioned benefits of synthetic ice flooring is that it actually helps to build muscles and endurance. Although artificial ice flooring is very similar to traditional ice, there is still a slight drag in the way that the ice skates glide across the surface. The extra bit of resistance for the skater is not enough to actually hinder the skater, but it is enough to put enough extra pressure on the muscles to help build them and strengthen them.

Just that little bit of extra pushing on the rink can add up to a large number of gains in strength and stamina.

Conclusion 

Although there may be a plethora of differing opinions on the validity of the value of synthetic ice, the facts are in plain sight when you look for them. Traditional ice costs more money.