Ice or polymer ice – skaters can now choose between skating on a real surface or artificial surface to enjoy the sport. It no more requires freezing water to set up a holiday skating rink as you can use synthetic ice instead. Water and electricity which are so essential for producing ice are absent when you install synthetic ice-rinks because the ice like effects are available from a plastic surface that allows skaters to glide smoothly across it. The feeling of gliding on traditional ice remains almost the same when moving across plastic material that has the resilience and strength just like ice. Besides, the plastic surface is as much frictionless as natural ice which does not allow skaters to feel any difference when they perform on an artificial surface.
Matching with the natural feeling
To create the feeling of natural ice, manufacturers use high-quality polymer or HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) with high molecular weight and embed special lubricant in it. The lubricant that remains mixed with plastic gradually oozes out from the surface thereby producing a slippery effect that matches with the natural ice surface. It ensures that the gliding ability of plastic ice surface is almost 90% of natural ice. As a result, when skaters perform on the artificial surface, they can do all kinds of maneuver and movements just as they would do on natural ice and this gives them great pleasure.
Skating on artificial ice
When you skate on natural ice, the friction of the skate blades melts the ice under it due to the heat generated from the friction, and as a result, you glide upon a thin film of water. When doing the same on a synthetic or artificial surface, it causes friction and heat in the same way, but instead of producing water, it spreads the lubricant across the surface that facilitates gliding. The lubricant already injected into the plastic material releases across the surface on applying pressure to the plastic surface by the blades of the skates.
The use of lubricants fused in plastic has done away with the use of silicone lubricants on the plastic surface that used to wear away quickly due to rubbing by the skates thereby increasing friction and making it very hard to move across the surface. The new type of lubricant does not have any sticky properties thereby enhancing the ability to glide smoothly.
Synthetic surfaces are ideal for training
To perform movements on synthetic surfaces skaters must give more effort because no matter how well the surface lubrication might be, the friction will be more than on natural ice surface. That is one of the reasons for preferring to use synthetic surfaces for training so that once skaters do well on it; they would adjust more quickly to natural surfaces and be able to perform better.
When playing hockey on an artificial surface it is possible to perform all maneuvers like start, stop, crossover, jumps and toe kicks. The hockey puck will glide on an artificial surface with the same speed as it would do on natural ice.