Because of the pandemic and all of the stay-at-home orders that have been in place synthetic ice has been steadily growing in popularity because people can build ice rinks and skate in the comfort of their own homes. Although it is a new concept for many people, it has been around for quite some time. The idea for synthetic ice was present at least 10 years before it actually became into the world.
Year-Round Ice Skating
As you probably already know, real ice melts when the temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that the only time people can ice skate is when it is below freezing outside. Here in the United States, the weather can go from one extreme to the next but does not stay frozen year-round. Although ice skating has been around for thousands of years, it wasn’t until it became a sport and could make people money that developers decided to move forward with the plan to develop an artificial flooring that acted just like ice so that ice skaters could continue to practice and compete in all seasons.
Early Synthetic Ice
The first attempts at making synthetic ice stemmed from a material called polyoxymethylene plastic, which was brought to life by the company known as DuPont back in the early 1950s. This flooring was not lightweight, or easy to skate across because it constantly needed to be lubricated and cared for. Without lubrication, ice skating across the old type of synthetic ice flooring was a lot like trying to ice skate across a linoleum kitchen floor.
Synthetic Ice in the 80s
As the years went by inventors began to find ways to create synthetic ice that did not have to be continually lubricated and maintained. Lightweight polymer plastics came into the picture and synthetic ice flooring became lighter and easier to maneuver. Although there still was quite a bit of a difference between skating on real ice and fake ice as far as drag and resistance went, they were definitely getting closer. The lubricant had to be applied monthly instead of constantly throughout the use.
The Synthetic Ice of Today
When it comes to synthetic ice of today, there is quite a bit of similarity between synthetic ice and real ice. High-quality synthetic ice is made with a special type of lubricant built into the polymer so that when a skater moves across the flooring it is activated and allows a thin layer of lubricant to help propel the skater, much like ice. On real ice, as the skater glides across the surface the heat from the friction causes the ice to melt just enough for the water to create a natural lubricant for the skater. This way the ice skates just glide across the ice like a dream. Although the synthetic ice of today has a slight bit of resistance that causes some drag, it is much more like real ice than it has ever been in the past.
So what was the reason that synthetic ice was created? Much for the same reasons why other hockey training aids like the hockey balance board were created: to help people build their skills all year round. Hockey players, figure skaters, and ice skating enthusiasts alike all can benefit from the remarkable artificial ice that is available on the market today. It is lightweight, easy to install, and can turn virtually anywhere into a great ice skating rink that will last through the heat for years to come. The compact, lightweight panels are easy to place on the ground and interlock to build a strong, durable surface to ice skate on, all year round.
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