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Science Project

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Having read Alpinords TR of his son's science project, I am trying to convince on of my kids to do a similar project for an upcoming fair.

Here in Ohio, we do not have snow for an on hill experiment. So I am thinking of different ways to build a laboratory hill to test the effect of different waxes and structures.

Does anyone have any ideas or another skiing related project? I was also thinking about homemade skis or a display on how skis are made.
post #2 of 18
I've got an idea. So basically get a tray (needs to be fairly big and at least a few inches deep) and fill it with snow. Put the tray on top of a table. Then take an old ski that you don't want and cut out a section (or find really short snowblades). Load some weight onto the top of the ski to simulate a human being, and put the ski on the snow. Then fasten a string to the ski and have the string move over a pulley that is fastened to the end of the table. Tie a weight to the end of the string and have the weight hang over the table. Then drop the weight and measure the amount of time it takes for the ski to travel a certain distance. Then try different waxes and see if it shortens the time. Ideally, you might want to build some kind of scaffold above the tray so that the ski can run on some sort of track. That way, the ski won't just slide off the tray (although if it does, it would probably just fall onto the table without much problem). I think it would be pretty cool if you could get this to work.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by fischermh View Post
Having read Alpinords TR of his son's science project, I am trying to convince on of my kids to do a similar project for an upcoming fair.

Here in Ohio, we do not have snow for an on hill experiment. So I am thinking of different ways to build a laboratory hill to test the effect of different waxes and structures.

Does anyone have any ideas or another skiing related project? I was also thinking about homemade skis or a display on how skis are made.
Write to me at sales@racewax.com and I will send you a document on all the basic science behind wax and skiing. It should be all the background material you need.

I am a chemist and not as handy/talented as some others here as far as building things. So I have to make up for it with creativity. One science project I did with my son years ago was based on reversing the whole concept. Instead of a ski on snow I did "snow" (actually used an ice block) on an inclined upsidedown ski. I added some makeshift guides to keep it going straight and timed it's slide with some different formulations on the base. Set an incline that gives you the longest slide time so it will be easier to measure differences between formulations. You might have to factor in the weight of the ice if they aren't uniform. It's not perfect, but it is easier.

You should have some fluoro wax; if you don't I can give you some in exchange for a thank you on the poster.

Write to me,
Marc
post #4 of 18
Though I tried to get him to do something else, we discussed the ice or snow sliding down a ski method along with other ideas like sending a weighted ski down a controlled ramp or trough, but the kid wanted to ski. It clearly amplified the effort and time versus a more controlled and smaller scale approach. The benefit was some of the variables and 'real world' influences helped with a fair amount of additional direct learning and understanding. One being a 1 inch per hour snowstorm. Another different snow temperatures, moisture content and snow type. We found that although there are clearly differences, I wonder how well you could tell the differences in a small project without determining a proper weight of the sliding object, that can be reliably measured. Too heavy and it may be inconclusive.

Since I am 2 1/2 times the mass of my kid, he gets PO"d that I always beat him while gliding while skiing. We've discussed this as a good physics calculation to see why this happens. I think that this would also be a good science project (or part of one). Different masses of ice or snow (do you have a hockey rink nearby to get shavings?) sliding down an incline and time them would be fun and combining different waxes and structures. Maybe making different size ice or snow molds of skier figurines could add to the fun.

Regarding structure, one idea is using a wetted rubber dart on smooth glass versus patterned glass. Though not directly applicable, see how it sticks on which the glass. Taking this concept or with other material that could slide down a structured incline (or ski), but stick or clearly drag when smooth, could be a different approach to amplify the difference in base structure.

Good luck. It was clearly quality time spent with my son. I expect it will be for you.
post #5 of 18
You could try and build an short ski ramp. The ones I've seen in use year round for ski jumping (olympic venues) have a plastic almost like astroturf or similar plastic carpet for times there is no snow. Maybe some pieces of the outdoor patio carpet sold would be close enough to place over a wood ramp. Then a pair of old kids skis to ski/ slide down the ramp (with weight- may not have to be a person, just enough to decamber the skis and run flat.)
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Doctor D,

Thanks alot for the Flouro wax. My son Evan is really excited about the project. We are going to begin tomorrow.

Mark
post #7 of 18
Sorry to chime in so late, but I just noticed this thread.

My suggestion would have been to place the ski in a ski vise, vary the waxes, and determine how much force was required to pull a mass along the ski.

Imagine the ski being horizontal. Place a 4" X4" sheet of plexiglass near one end of the ski. Put 5 lb, 10 lb, 20 lb weights on the plexiglass to see which works best.

Then determine how much force is needed to pull the weight over a 120 cm distance in a particular time.

Measure the force. Tie a string to the weight, extend the string over the end of the ski or over a pulley. Attach small weight to end of the string and let gravity pull the weighted plexiglass sheet along the ski.

Rewax and try again.
post #8 of 18
Mark: I didn't know if you had a cork for the fluoro so I tossed in an old one I had.

PVnRT: That idea may have merit but would need modifications to emulate what is attempting to be measured. The missing ingredient is water. Ski wax is effective when there is a thin film of water. It is a very narrow margin though between dry friction, the optimum water layer thickness, and too much water that adds drag due to the capillary effect of water. I would make dry measurements with your set up, then lightly(!) mist and remeasure, then increase the water and see if you can get lucky and find an optimum amount. Then repeat with different wax formulations. With each wax application thorough brushing will be important so that the results can be compared with confidence.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Actually, I did not have a cork. I appreciate it.
post #10 of 18
Ski wax experiments in the spring when there is no snow?



Think "outside the box" ..... rent a meat locker or storage freezer and ...

OK ..... realizing that you are dealing with a madman ... :

If the idea is to show how wax can increase the performance of a racer ... and considering it's almost summer:

It may be possible to illustrate the characteristics of a waxed surface versus an unwaxed surface and speed ...

Buy a length of PV pipe at Home Despot and cut the pipe in half .... say a 10' or 12' length .... cut it down the "long axis" of the pipe and you end up with two long "U" channels.

Take one pipe .... wax (OK you can't iron it on), so heat the wax and brush the B-Jeezus out of it.

The other pipe remains untreated.

Take a water dropper or something like a (contact lens lubricant bottle comes to mind), that will generate a relatively even drop/droplet of water.

Incline the pipe at ..... "X degrees" .... and measure the time it takes the water drop to take coming down the pipe.

This incorporates the basics of wax and performance along with water and adhesion .... and ..... with a photo "montage" ... and/or charts that show the winning times of ski racing and how .... .02 seconds .... are the difference between a win and a loss over almost a mile.

Less incilnation of the pipe .... versus more ... may be the best illustration and actually be measurable without a sophisticated timing system.

:
post #11 of 18
I am making the assumption that Doctor D's wax will have that droplet coming down the chute like spit on a griddle.

post #12 of 18
Cut a chunk of ptex out of an old ski
weigh it
toss it into a crockpot filled with wax
let bubble
remove/scrape/brush
weigh again
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Cut a chunk of ptex out of an old ski
weigh it
toss it into a crockpot filled with wax
let bubble
remove/scrape/brush
weigh again
If this becomes something that you do, let me know. I have some scraps of P-tex sheet left over from the last pair of skis. I could roll them up and send them to you for a couple of bucks.

Although, wouldn't you only want to let the wax hit one side?
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Here is a picture of Evan and his project. Long story short, he compared the speeds of an ice cube sliding down a ski waxed with Hertel Super Hot Sauce and one with Doctor D Race Wax. The wax race was 9% faster. I know there are problems with the procedure, but we were limited on time and he is 8.

post #15 of 18
Great job! Can I use this story/picture on my website?
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Sure
post #17 of 18
Thanks! I might photoshop out the word TOKO though
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
I was going to recommend that.
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