Université PSL

The physics of skiing

The physics of skiing
Lydéric Bocquet’s team, MicroMégas (IPGG/ENS), in collaboration with a team from the hydrodynamics laboratory (LadHyX, CNRS / École Polytechnique), have developed a new device using a tuning fork, to study the friction on ice at the nanoscale. They recently published their last results in the journal Physical Review X. Friction causes the formation of a thin film of water, but its submicronic thickness and its viscoelastic properties were unexpected. The melted water is as viscous as oil, hence explaining its very good lubricating power! The unsual properties of the melted water are a key parameter that have never been considered before and can now be used to properly describe the friction on the ice. They are now exploring the role of waxing on ski friction, in collaboration with the french biathlon team.