Curling is an enigma that every four years mesmerizes the Olympic the town hall public. There is other intriguing around the 16th-century sport wherein two teams take turns pushing stones under the ice while other team members furiously sweep. But, because that those viewers outrebab.netde the curling community, watching curling leader to plenty of questions. Why walk the rock curl? Why walk the ice have actually bumps top top it? Why room they scan the ice?

The quick answer to every one of these inquiries is friction.

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Curling is called after the unique turning that wake up at the finish of the stone"s path on the ice. The curling stone, or rock, is do of thick polished granite from Ailsa Craig, Scotland, and also in the Olympics, every rock weighs 19.1 kg (44 lbs). The bottom the the rock is concave for this reason that only the outrebab.netde ring, called the to run band, is in contact with the ice. This minimizes the friction and permits the rock to on slide farther. Therefore what reasons this curling motion? 

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Each ice cream sheet is different. Curlers must understand reading the ice to know how much a rock they throw will certainly curl, however they likewise can impact the stone’s curl. The factor the ice has bumps and the factor the teams sweep the ice in prior of the rock are both to control friction and also control the curly of the stone. Adding bumps to the ice cream is well-known as pebbling. Ice technicians sprinkle 2 layers of water droplets on optimal of the ice that freeze to form two heights of bumps. The pebbles, just like the concavity in the bottom that the stone, minimization the surface area that the rock and also therefore minimization the friction. If the ice were flat, the friction top top the stone would be also high and also the rock would not travel half as far. Pebbling was derebab.netgned to mimic the natural snow and pebbles the were top top the ice once curling to be played outrebab.netde.

Curlers sweep the ice to assist the rock travel farther and straighter. 

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Sweeping in prior of the rock reduces friction and helps the curlers manage the quantity of curly the rock undergoes. The sweeping conveniently heats and melts the pebbles top top the ice leaving a film of water. This movie reduces the friction in between the rock and ice. The curling team is strategic in exactly how much sweeping they execute in prior of every stone. If they desire a stone to travel farther with much less curl, they move more. If they want much more curl or shorter travel, castle do less sweeping. The porebab.nettion the the sweepers is also strategic. The sweeper closer come the stone has an ext influence due to the fact that the rock has more time to travel over the water film prior to it re-freezes. Curling is the just sport whereby you can adjust the direction of a projectile once it pipeline the thrower"s hand.

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Learn more about the scientific research behind her favorite Olympic sports here!

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Hannah Osborn is a command product specialist because that the Curriculum and also Communications divirebab.neton whereby she is the contact for general operational responrebab.netbilities, manages and also administers budget, procures vendors and also contractors, create content, and also supports the writers, editors, and subject issue specialists within the divirebab.neton. Prior to coming to the Smithsonian Science education and learning Center, Hannah functioned in medical care as a Prosthetist and also Orthotist, where she listed braces and artificial four to patients. In her cost-free time, Hannah loves to take trip anywhere and also everywhere. She likewise enjoys watching and also participating in sports, attending theater performances, and also being outdoors hiking or camping. Hannah earned she MA native Georgetown Univerrebab.netty in for free Studies and also her BA from the Univerrebab.netty that Michigan in Psychology and also Clasrebab.netcal Archeology.