Why Is Ice Slippery Enough for Skiing and Skating?

Brianne Costa December 2, 2016

Finding a scientific explanation for why ice is slippery seems simple enough, but it has actually been a subject of debate and confusion for centuries. As part of the world begins to bundle up for a blustery winter, let’s explore the science behind how the slipperiness of ice enables us to ski, skate, and even fall down in the parking lot.

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Caty Fairclough November 11, 2016

In the highly competitive world of professional cricket, every swing is important. To deliver powerful shots, a batsman needs a well-designed bat and knowledge of how to best use it. One way to improve a player’s batting skills, and perhaps design better bats, is to locate their so-called “sweet spots”. A research team from the University of the West Indies achieved this by performing a structural analysis with the COMSOL Multiphysics® software.

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Mateusz Stec February 4, 2016

Pole vaulting is one of the most difficult events to master in track and field. Athletes must be able to run fast, be strong enough to elevate their body by holding the pole, and have excellent body control in order to change position while airborne. Analyzing the science behind this sport offers greater insight into the mechanisms that ensure success.

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Phil Kinnane November 5, 2015

Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, but it’s also considered an art. This is seen in the technical abilities required by the batsman to protect his wicket and go on to score runs. It’s also due to the type of bowling used to get the batsman out, which depends on a myriad of physical factors. Here, we investigate one of these techniques — the art of swing bowling.

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Fabio Bocchi August 27, 2015

Each year, tennis players from around the world compete at the U.S. Open, one of the oldest and largest tennis tournaments. With the 2015 tournament approaching, I found myself reflecting on my own experiences playing tennis, particularly how the feeling you get after hitting the ball is never quite the same. Is this simply a figment of the imagination or is there a physical answer? As I will explain here, so-called “sweet spots” can account for this feeling.

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Andrew Griesmer July 17, 2014

Professional baseball pitchers are able to make a baseball move left, right, down, and even up (sort of) to get it by the opposing batter. The physics behind this can be explained by the Magnus effect.

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Ed Fontes June 12, 2014

The Beckham and Maradona curl obtained with the inside of the soccer cleat (football boot), and the curl by Eder, Nelinho, and Roberto Carlos with the outside of the cleat, is due to the Magnus effect. The effect is named after the scientist who first observed it in a laboratory in the 1850s. The Magnus effect explains the side-force on a sphere that is both rotating and moving forward. We’ll use it to analyze the FIFA World Cup™ match ball.

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Pawan Soami June 6, 2014

How well you can strike a golf ball is not only determined by your muscle strength, but more importantly — it is influenced by several other factors involved in the mechanics of your golf swing. Let’s see how a multibody analysis of a golf swing can be used to improve the outcome of your stroke.

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