Archive for the ‘Winter Olympics Maths’ Category

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1. The Real REASON why figure skaters can spin so fast

January 23, 2014

REASON  1:

Well, mathspiggies, the girl in this video is right. Angular momentum remains constant unless external forces are applied.

L = mvr

L = angular momentum

v = linear velocity

r = separation of object

Louisa Barama, USA

Louisa Barama, USA

Let’s have a look at this equation:

Figure skate maths1

The fastest spin on ice skates was achieved by Natalia Kanounnikova (Russia) with a maximum rotational velocity of 308 RPM (rotations per minute) at Rockefeller Centre Ice Rink, New York, USA on 27 March 2006. See Guinness Book of Records.

 Record spin :  vr = 308 RPM

Other spins include:

Mao Asada, Japan, triple Axel

Mao Asada, Japan, triple Axel

Triple Axel spin vr = 220 – 280 RPM

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

 Maximum Triple Axel spin vr = 402 RPM

Skaters can spin faster during a triple axel jump because there is no friction from the ice slowing their spin.

To complete a quad axel, it’s estimated that the skater would have to rotate in the air at:

540 rpm.

…………………………………………………………………………………

Camel spin vr = 90 RPM

More info here.

Kim Yuna, South Korea

Kim Yuna, South Korea

…………………………………………….

REASON 2:

How can a figure skater move from

a camel spin into a very fast standing spin?

Now, mathspiggies, you must separate Linear Velocity (v1 ) from Angular Velocity (vr ). Linear Velocity is measured in m/sec ie. it is the speed of, say, a skaters foot around the circle. Angular Velocity is measured in either RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) or degrees or Radians per minute. Ie. It is the rate of spin. We can’t judge how many m/sec a skaters foot is moving in a circle. We can only see how fast they spin. In other words, we see their Angular Velocity. When a skaters foot is in the Camel position that foot travels in a very big circle.

But when that same foot is in a Triple Axel postion it moves in a very, very small circle.

Patrick Chan, Canada,  Camel Spin

Patrick Chan, Canada, Camel Spin

Patrick Chan, Canada, Triple Axel

Patrick Chan, Canada, Triple Axel

figure skate maths 2

By halving the radius, firstly, a skater’s Linear Velocity doubles due to the conservation of angular momentum.

Then, secondly, by halving the radius the circumference of the circle moved by , say, the skaters foot is halved.

Overall, by doubling the velocity around the circle and halving the circumference a skater increases their rotational velocity by a factor of 4.

Look at the numbers:

Camel spin vr = 90 RPM

…………………………………………………………………………………

Triple Axel spin vr = 4 x 90 RPM = 360 RPM

That’s about right.

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2. One Rule Aerial Skiers Cannot Break

January 23, 2014

Aerial skiers aim for height rather than length. Their aerial flight times are much smaller than ski jumpers so air resistance has minimal impact.

In fact, there is one law the aerial skiers cannot break. It is the law of gravity.

Here is an equation for  projectile motion from Wired magazine.

Screen grab from Wired Magazine

Screen grab from Wired Magazine

Here is the x-y graph for different launch angles.

trajectory wired magazine

trajectory wired magazine

You can go to this page for complete calculations. Aerial skiers twist and turn but their CENTRE OF GRAVITY must follow this graph. MOre on centre of Gravity at The Great Back Pack Attack ie.

The centre of gravity of Aerial Skiers must follow a

parabolic curve.

Aerial Parabola final 1

 

Aerial Parabola final 2

 

Rocky Maloney Winter X Games Aspen

Rocky Maloney Winter X Games Aspen

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3. How maths rules ski jumping

January 23, 2014

While air resistance has little impact on aerial skiers (above) it is a significant factor used by ski jumpers to increase their jump distance.

The significant maths for ski jumpers is therefore X-section area.

Here is the jump at Sochi. Just imagine going down that at top speed!!!

Sochi Ski Jump 2014 by blogger Melbourneer

Sochi Ski Jump 2014 by blogger Melbourneer

Ski jumpers increase their speed going down the ramp by reducing their X-section area:

Lindsey Van, USA, practicing in a wind tunnel

Lindsey Van, USA, practicing in a wind tunnel

Once they leave the ramp, ski jumpers try to increase their X-section area like Ski Divers to slow their vertical fall. But they have to land safely so they keep their skis at a minimum  angle.

Abby Hughes going down jump:

Abby Hughes, USA, practicing in a wind tunnel.

Abby Hughes, USA, practicing in a wind tunnel.

Abby Hughes, USA, in the air

Abby Hughes, USA, in the air

Here are the X-section areas for Abby Hughes*:

Abby Hughes X-section

Here is the formula for Air Resistance of Drag:

D = ½CApv2

Where C is the drag coefficient or constant, which depends on the shape and spin of an object. It is found by testing the object in a wind tunnel.

A is the X-section Area,

p is the density of the air and

v the velocity of the object.

More here.

As Abby Hughes has tripled here X-section area in the air she will

have tripled the vertical drag during her jump. This will slow here decent.

*Mathspig calculated the X-section area by the old fashioned method of counting squares and rounding off the final count. Mathspig sized the two pics of Abby Huges so that her head was the same size in both pictures.

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4. Why the best figure skater doesn’t always win

January 23, 2014

According to the fab NBC video, Mathletes,  nine Figure Skating judges score competitors for the complexity of each element (eg. Triple axel or triple spin jump) and the quality of the performance producing a score out of ten.

Joannie Rochette

Joannie Rochette

Brendan Kerry Australia

Brendan Kerry Australia…..

figure skating score 9 judges nbclearn

This is a typical figure skating score card for one competitor.

The final score, however, is based  on the average for only 5 of these scores. Two are eliminated by random selection (Red Brackets). Then the top and bottom scores are removed and the remaining five scores averaged.

Screen grab NBC Mathletes

Screen grab NBC Mathletes

……………………………………………………

Now consider the IDENTICAL SCORE CARDS

of Skater A & B:

figure skating score A

Skater A:

Four scores are removed. Two by the random selector (in brackets) and then the top and bottom scores (with line drawn through them)

7.00 + 7.00 + 7.00 + 6.75 + 7.00

……………………………………..

=  34.75/ 5 = 6.95

figure skating score B

Skater B:

Four scores are removed. Two by the random selector (in brackets) and then the top and bottom scores (with line drawn through them). But this time the random selector eliminates two low scores.

The average:

7.00 + 7.25 + 7.00 + 7.00 + 7.00

……………………………………..

=  35.25/ 5 = 7.05

Same score cards but Skater B gets a higher average score than Skater A.

Skater A is, in fact, beaten by a random number selector!!!!

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5. Beaten by 0.001 seconds

January 23, 2014

Here is a screen grab from the  New York Times article on Speed Skating:

Fractions of a Second: New York Times

Fractions of a Second: New York Times

Annette Gerritsen fromthe Netherlands

Annette Gerritsen fromthe Netherlands

Annette Gerristen lost the Gold Medal in the 1000 m Women’s speed skate competition by 0.02 seconds.

Apollo Ono USA speed skater

Apollo Ono USA speed skater

Screen Grab NBC Mathletes Apollo Ono Recorded Speed

Screen Grab NBC Mathletes
Apollo Ono Recorded Speed

From the wonderful NBC Mathletes Video

How far can a speed skater travel in 0.02 secs?

speed skate maths

When 1st and 2nd place are separated by 0.02 seconds, they are travelling at almost the same speed. So the second place contestant is:

23.8 cm

behind the winner.

The distance travelled by the winning speed skater in 0.002 seconds would be:

2.38 cm.

So the second place competitor would be 2.38 cm behind.

If a speed skater lost the Gold Medal by 0.001 seconds, the smallest measured time segment at the Olympics, they would be:

1.19 cm

behind the winner. That is less than the length of a small fingernail.