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Skiing and Friction: How Does Ski Wax Affect the Sliding Friction of Skis? *

Difficulty
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.

Abstract

You can model this with an ice cube sliding down a plank: how high do you need to lift the end of the plank before the ice cube starts to slide? Try this with one side plain wood and the flip side waxed wood (use paraffin wax, candle wax or ski wax). Make sure both sides are equally smooth to start with. Do at least three trials. More advanced: using what you know about the forces acting on the ice cube, derive equations to calculate the coefficient of friction for each case. Variation: chill the planks to different temperatures (e.g., inside, vs. outside, vs. enclosed, but unheated porch; or use your freezer; make sure the boards stay long enough to reach equilibrium). Do tests at steady temperature, try different cross-country ski waxes at each temperature. (Idea from Wiese, 2002, 54-56.)

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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Skiing and Friction: How Does Ski Wax Affect the Sliding Friction of Skis?" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 30 June 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p042.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 30). Skiing and Friction: How Does Ski Wax Affect the Sliding Friction of Skis?. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p042.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-30

Bibliography

Wiese, J., 2002. Sports Science: 40 Goal-Scoring, High-Flying, Medal-Winning Experiments for Kids. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.

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