Skiing and Friction *
AbstractHow does ski wax affect the sliding friction of skis? 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, pp. 54-56.)
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Last edit date: 2017-07-28
BibliographyWiese, Jim. Sports Science: 40 Goal-Scoring, High-Flying, Medal-Winning Experiments for Kids. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2002.
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