What Ice Rinks Are Made Of


What Ice Rinks Are Made Of


By: Rishithasree Poshala, Journalist

Everybody knows that hockey is played on ice and ice is frozen water. But did you know that not all ice is the same? In fact, It turns out that the temperature and chemistry of the ice makes a big difference.

The speed of the ice is also preferred in athletes, for example, hockey players tend to prefer “fast ice” because it’s harder and colder with a smooth, slippery surface. While hockey players want to move fast, figure skaters often prefer the slower ice, which holds up better for jumps and landings.

Some might think, “how does the ice not break or melt”, well that has to do with the water purity, it plays a big role in the making of the special ice. Ice made with water that contains dissolved alkaline salts may have a sticky feeling to it, they can also dull the blades.That’s why most ice rinks use water purifiers to filter the water that is used for the ice.

The technology used in indoor ice rinks is the same type that’s used in refrigerators and air conditioners. Brinewater is pumped through a system of pipes under the ice. The pipes are built into the concrete which makes the arena floor. Since brinewater freezes at a lower temperature than just water, that allows the water to stay as a liquid as it moves through the pipes but it can still be cold enough to freeze the water that’s poured onto the concrete floor.

There are many layers beneath the ice, each layer varies between 1/30 and 1/16 of an inch thick. The first layer is placed directly onto the concrete floor, which measures about 1/32 of an inch thick. It freezes almost instantly when it hits the cold floor. After that, more super-thin layers are applied. They are painted white to contrast with the black puck, and at last lines and logos are also painted on. The entire process can take up to  48 hours. The ice is only about one inch thick when everything is completed. In special stadiums like the PNC arena in Raleigh, the ice stays in place for the entire hockey season. There is a special flooring laid on top of the ice to allow for NC State basketball games and other events to be held in the arena.


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