Northern BC is no stranger to the Scottish sport of curling, but have you ever wondered how that giant rock was able to slide down the ice?
That was the question UNBC Professor Mark Shegelski asked himself before coming up with a formula, that looked at the diameter of the running band, the size and density of the rock, and the harness and elasticity of the ice.
He collaborated with University of Alberta Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Dr. Edward Lozowski where they came up with the comprehensive formula.
“our ultimate success was that equation, that very simple equation, which for physics is, pretty much, the simplest expression you can get,” says Dr. Shegelski.
Shegelski added his main focus was on the rock, but when you add in sweeping it does change the effect on the ice.
“What the sweeping does is warms the ice and reduces the normal friction, the standard friction that we see all the time when we slide things. The reduction of the friction makes the rock go straighter and makes it go further.”
Basically when you sweep you’re going to change how hard the ice is, and therefore the curling distance will decrease.
The idea came to Shegelski when he was on vacation in Hawaii when it occurred to him a curling rock travelling down a sheet of ice me be momentarily sticking to the pebbled ice, causing repeated small pivots which creates the gentle curve players use to get the rock around guards.
The full formula can be found in the journal: the cold regions science and technology, which was published earlier this year.