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Bubble Ice

from Smithsonian

Why Curling Ice is Different Than Other Ice

There is a science to preparing ice for the shuffleboard-like sport. It’s all about the pebbling

By Erica R. Hendry

20140214-130128.jpgAn ice maker pebbles the 2014 Olympic curling rink in Sochi. (Rich Harmer)

Let’s be honest: the fervor around curling in the 2014 Olympic Games has been mostly driven, so far, by the return of Team Norway’s outrageous pants.

When it comes to knowing as much about the sport, plenty of people fall a little short. And if you don’t know the rules, odds are you aren’t thinking much about the actual surface across which athletes push 44-pound stones for a shot at Olympic glory.

It’s just a hockey rink, right?

Well, not quite. Trying to curl on untreated ice “would be like a pro golfer going from putting at Augusta to putting on his back lawn,” says Derek Brown, USA Curling’s director of high performance.

If curling ice was flat, the stone would move barely halfway across the “sheet,” or curling lane. And that’s assuming the curler is hurling it as hard as possible. Friction would halt the rock within seconds. So, to make the ice more amenable to the sport, devoted ice makers employ a technique called “pebbling.” More or less what it sounds like, pebbling involves freezing small droplets of water across the playing surface between each match.

[ click to continue reading at Smithsonian ]

Posted on February 14, 2018 by Editor

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