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New speed suit at Olympics for US

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
A new type of speed suit is coming made by Spyder
This much is known: Made out of a three-layer bonded polyester knit, the body suits are marble smooth. They have no texture whatsoever, hardly a seam exposed to the wind.
post #2 of 10
So you'll see racers from the U.S.A. and Canada in these new "rocket suits": the former in the "Captain America in a blender" kit, the latter in the yellow-fading-to-red-and-white (a.k.a. "Golden Astropop") look.

Andrew Weibrecht at Whistler Manny Osborne-Paradis at Whistler

I wonder if they'll disappear from view as quickly as Spyder's "speedwire" suits from the 1992 games 1997 FIS World Championships: once Lindh won her medal, it made the other nations that didn't use Spyder (namely Austria and Switzerland) to have it quickly banned from all FIS competition.

Originally Posted by Tog View Post

A new type of speed suit is coming made by Spyder


Edited by songfta - 2/12/10 at 1:28pm
post #3 of 10
It should make for some fantastic slides if the racers go down.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Isn't there some sort of testing to make sure the suit doesn't melt to the skin from the friction of a slide?

In other news, Ligety and Cochrane bought a beater car and started jumping it.
see clip here: (requires silverlight)
post #5 of 10
What's kind of interesting is that the last generation of Syder WC suits, developed with endless wind testing and other technology were found to be fastest with a slightly textured surface. Amazing how much R+D goes into this. So these suits are absolutely marble smooth, but still are able to pass the FIS "plume" requirements. Sounds pretty "slick." Hope they help out the North Americans!
post #6 of 10
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

What's kind of interesting is that the last generation of Syder WC suits, developed with endless wind testing and other technology were found to be fastest with a slightly textured surface.

...and that starts to answer the question: Why have golf balls got dimples?
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yes, remember when Atomic skis had the dimpled surface?
This is a new direction here.

Nyman was part of Spyder's initial testing in a wind tunnel in San Diego last June. Usually, suits are studied with a skier in a tuck position, wind howling in their face. But that's hardly the routine pose when someone zooms down a bumpy slope at 75 mph.

Instead, Nyman tested the outfit from a modified position. The suit reduced wind drag by up to 3 percent, which could shed up to a second off a downhill time at Whistler in February, according to Spyder.

This suit is the result of Spyder taking a different approach to race wear. In years past, research centered on turning laminar flow into turbulent air, which creates a more streamlined and aerodynamic flow.

Spyder built a suit on that principle in 1995 called SpeedWyre. The outfit incorporated a "trip wire" into the surface, causing a reduction in aerodynamic drag and creating a more streamlined flow.

American Hilary Lindh wore that suit at the 1997 world championships in Sestriere, Italy, winning downhill by 0.06 of a second.

It's predominantly a shimmery blue color with white stars along one side, red and white stripes on the other.

To the touch, the suit is amazingly smooth.


"You're just not questioning it," Nyman said. "Sometimes you hear guys at the races saying, 'My suit is slow,' and they blame their stuff. We don't have that in the back of our minds. We have nothing to blame but ourselves."

post #8 of 10
Being smooth, textured, or dimpled has nothing to do with the 30ml porosity test for FIS requirements.  That's just a test of how much air goes through vs around the fabric (although scientifically the properties are more complex).  Aerodynamics is quite complex, so if you only know basic Newtonian mechanics, you can't understand what's going on.  I'm not about to try writing some partial differential equations, but there's many variables with far more complex of relationships than you can model with basic math like algebra and elementary calculus.  We have yet to develop the equivalent of Maxwell's equations or Schrodinger's equation for aerodynamics (i.e. everything you could imagine modeled for any imaginable situation). Rather, we only have things to model idealized, simplified, or specialized conditions and statistical and computational simulations of empirically constrained environments.  They've simply made a slightly better optimization with a better stochastic analysis.
post #9 of 10
I'm waiting for one to be as big a factor as the latest Speedo suits were/are in competitive swimming..
post #10 of 10
Because of the nature of the two sports, I'm doubtful you'd see such a gain in skiing, let alone in a single change.  Plus, FIS regulations put the upper limit of performance slightly lower than the equivalent for swimming.  Maybe in going straight down the hill speed skiing they could come slightly closer to an LZR type gain.  But hey, who knows.
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