"Ice the Puck"
Patrick Neal
St Thomas Aquinas
Floor Location : J 043 P

My experiment was designed to find out how pucks at various temperatures slide on the ice surface. I have played hockey for six years and have often wondered how different conditions, such as temperature, affect a puck. Maximizing puck performance would maximize game performance. rnPrior to conducting my experiment, I hypothesized that a warm puck will go further as the heat will cause less friction and therefore allow the puck to travel farther down the ice. rnI set up my slingshot contraption at the blue line, laid the measuring tape out along the ice in front of it, parallel to the boards of the rink. I then used the slingshot to send pucks along the ice. rnMy contraption was fairly well designed however one minor flaw that showed up was the inability to ensure each puck was released with the same force. I was using my hand to release the puck and it was hard to be constant with the release. If I were to repeat this experiment I would design a mechanical release mechanism to ensure each puck is released with the same force. rnThe control in my experiment was the ice surface that remained constant at -7 o C throughout the testing. The independent variables were the temperatures of the pucks. The dependant variables were how far the pucks travelled. The most difficult part was determining the best way to send pucks along the ice at a constant velocity. Freezing, boiling and keeping pucks at room temperature gave a wide variety of temperatures, allowing me to successfully conduct my experiment. Overall frozen pucks slid easier and farther down the ice. rnOn average frozen pucks travelled a distance of 10.88 metres down the ice, while room temperature pucks travelled 9.372 metres and heated pucks travelled 8.75 metres. The farthest a puck travelled was 15 metres. This was a frozen puck. The least distance travelled was 5.4 metres. This puck was heated. rnThe average distance travelled by room temperature pucks was 7% longer than the average distance travelled by heated pucks, which I used as a base for this calculation. The average distance travelled by frozen pucks was 24% greater than the average distance of heated pucks. rnMy original hypothesis was incorrect. I thought heated pucks would move more freely along the ice surface. What I realized is that a heated puck creates more friction with the ice and therefore slows the puck down faster. The friction is created by the heat melting the ice and creating a very thin layer of water between the ice and the puck which affects the ability of the puck to slide down the ice. Frozen pucks create less friction with the ice as they have similar surface temperatures and therefore there is no variation to the ice surface. rnMy results indicated that the colder a puck is, the better it will slide down the ice. In order to maximize performance of a hockey puck, it needs to be kept frozen until used.rn