Skiing and Friction

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 Areas of Science Mechanical Engineering Difficulty Time Required Short (2-5 days)
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Abstract

How 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.)

Bibliography

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

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Science Buddies Staff. "Skiing and Friction." Science Buddies, 28 July 2017, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/ApMech_p031/mechanical-engineering/skiing-and-friction?class=AQVGM_hOFl1sljIWIkgu38MN0uRnhO4qlIR4ofbwbBAmHuHjdfWvFKO5vKkpBH3WHu3QKYstJyFuksHLcC8nKI7Y. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2017, July 28). Skiing and Friction. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/ApMech_p031/mechanical-engineering/skiing-and-friction?class=AQVGM_hOFl1sljIWIkgu38MN0uRnhO4qlIR4ofbwbBAmHuHjdfWvFKO5vKkpBH3WHu3QKYstJyFuksHLcC8nKI7Y

Last edit date: 2017-07-28

Experimental Procedure

For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.

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