The Physics of Ice Skating
hosted by

San Diego Figure Skating Communications
a non-profit educational organization


    A complete study plan to help skaters, coaches, and judges understand how the laws of physics apply to the sport of ice skating.

1-D Kinematics  The motion of objects in one-dimension are described using words, diagrams, numbers, graphs, and equations.

Newton's Laws Newton's three laws of motion are explained and their application to the analysis of the motion of objects in one dimension is discussed.

Vectors - Motion and Forces in Two Dimensions Vector principles and operations are introduced and combined with kinematic principles and Newton's laws to describe, explain and analyze the motion of objects in two dimensions. Applications include riverboat problems, projectiles, inclined planes, and static equilibrium.

Momentum and Its Conservation The impulse-momentum change theorem and the law of conservation of momentum are introduced, explained and applied to the analysis of collisions of objects.

Work, Energy, and Power Concepts of work, kinetic energy and potential energy are discussed; these concepts are combined with the work-energy theorem to provide a convenient means of analyzing an object or system of objects moving between an initial and final state.

Circular Motion and Satellite Motion Newton's laws of motion and kinematic principles are applied to describe and explain the motion of objects moving in circles; specific applications are made to roller coasters and athletics. Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation is then presented and utilized to explain the circular and elliptical motion of planets and satellites.

Static Electricity Basic principles of electrostatics are introduced in order to explain how objects become charged and to describe the effect of those charges on other objects in the neighboring surroundings. Charging methods, electric field lines and the importance of lightning rods on homes are among the topics discussed in this unit.

Current Electricity The flow of charge through electric circuits is discussed in detail. The variables which cause and hinder the rate of charge flow are explained and the mathematical application of electrical principles to series, parallel and combination circuits is presented.

Waves The nature, properties and behaviors of waves are discussed and illustrated; the unique nature of a standing wave is introduced and explained.

Sound Waves and Music The nature of sound as a longitudinal, mechanical pressure wave is explained and the properties of sound are discussed. Wave principles of resonance and standing waves are applied in an effort to analyze the physics of musical instruments.

Light Waves and Color The behavior of light waves is introduced and discussed; polarization, color, diffraction and interference are introduced as supporting evidence of the wave nature of light. Color perception is discussed in detail.

Reflection and the Ray Model of Light The ray nature of light is used to explain how light reflects off of planar and curved surfaces to produce both real and virtual images; the nature of the images produced by plane mirrors, concave mirrors, and convex mirrors is thoroughly illustrated.

Refraction and the Ray Model of Light   The ray nature of light is used to explain how light refracts at planar and curved surfaces; Snell's law and refraction principles are used to explain a variety of real-world phenomena; refraction principles are combined with ray diagrams to explain why lenses produce images of objects.

 All materials are copy protected. 
The use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

Source -
The Physics Classroom


Newtons Laws of Physics applied to Autos   Newton’s laws of motion. Do you know why these laws are so important? When you throw a baseball or you bounce a basketball on the court, you can use Newton’s laws to explain the motion of the baseball or basketball. In fact, almost all motion in the world can be explained by these laws. Newton’s laws are useful when people design airplanes, trains, cars, sports equipment, toys, and many things that have to do with motion. Some people have trouble understanding Newton’s laws of motion because it’s hard to see how the laws work without any examples. One great way to understand these laws is to look at how they relate to cars in everyday life.
Recommended by - Physics Students of Jessica Lee, Colorado Tutors Org.

Sir Isaac Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. The First Law of Motion pertained to inertia, the Second Law of Motion explained the principles behind acceleration, and the Third Law of Motion asserted that every force was accompanied by an equal and opposite force.

In-Flight Barotrauma Think about the last time you were on an airplane or went swimming. You might have noticed that your ears had a strange feeling, almost like they were about to pop. This is actually a very common occurrence that happens to just about everyone at some point. It is called barotrauma, and there is a scientific explanation for it. Let’s find out more about barotraumas and how to help relieve it.

Why Do Our Ears Pop In Airplanes? Why you move upwards to a higher level, the air pressure outside begins to drop. This means that the air that is inside your ears is now higher in pressure than the external air. Your body naturally attempts to decrease your internal pressure. You might notice this happening when an airplane takes off, or also while traveling up a mountain. Sometimes it even happens in elevators of very tall buildings! The changes in pressure can cause discomfort and sometimes a bit of pain. Sometimes it also temporarily becomes a little difficult to hear properly.

There are a few simple ways to cope with this. Keep some chewing gum on hand and chew away as you travel upwards. If you don’t have any gum, try yawning or opening your mouth very wide. Plastic ear plugs can be purchased from pharmacies to help reduce the feeling of pressure. Finally, if you hold your nose, close your mouth, and blow gently, you will feel some pressure relief in your ears. Always make sure you don’t blow too hard, since that could end up hurting your ears instead!

Recommend by - Frannie Davis, Science Student Teacher, Seattle Public Schools


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Role of Physics in Skating
Science of Dance

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

Athlete Concerns     Collection of Related Ideas    Skating Articles    Related Topics      

Ice Skating Rink Index    Topic Index    Site Index   Home Page