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Skating on slippery ice

J. M. J. van Leeuwen

SciPost Phys. 3, 042 (2017) · published 23 December 2017


The friction of a stationary moving skate on smooth ice is investigated, in particular in relation to the formation of a thin layer of water between skate and ice. It is found that the combination of ploughing and sliding gives a friction force that is rather insensitive for parameters such as velocity and temperature. The weak dependence originates from the pressure adjustment inside the water layer. For instance, high velocities, which would give rise to high friction, also lead to large pressures, which, in turn, decrease the contact zone and so lower the friction. The theory is a combination and completion of two existing but conflicting theories on the formation of the water layer.