Physics: In The Winter Olympics Essay

1370 words - 5 pages

The Winter Olympics are held every four years at a different host city. This past year they were held here in the United States, in Salt Lake City. A wide variety of different types of winter sports are played at the Olympics but three of the most popular are men's and women's ice hockey, figure skating, and downhill skiing. Physics plays a very large part in how these sports are played, most people don't realize it but without some of the simple laws of physics these sports wouldn't be the same as they are today.Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Olympic Ice hockey is definitely the most brutal form of hockey. Many violent collisions, fights, and body checks occur during every game. That is why it is perfectly able to demonstrate the rules of momentum, impulse, and collisions using examples from Olympic Ice Hockey. To understand how momentum and impulse apply to ice hockey, it really helps to understand what they are. Momentum is defined as the MASS of an object times its VELOCITY, or P=mv. Impulse is known as simply the change of momentum, and is formally defined as the product of the force exerted to change the momentum and the time it took to do that (P=Ft) There are two types of collisions: totally elastic and totally inelastic. Both of these types of collisions can be observed while watching your typical Olympic ice hockey game. An example of a near totally elastic collision; after hitting each other, both players bounce off each other like rubber balls, and almost no kinetic energy is lost. With inelastic collisions after twp players collide with each other, the two players almost become one, and have lost virtually all of their kinetic energy. They probably saw each other in just enough time to latch on to the other one, and therefore are a prime example of an almost totally inelastic collision. Now how distance, force, and acceleration play a part in Olympic Ice Hockey. Distance=(Rate)(Time) ,so over a certain distance (say, the front blue line to the net) the faster or slower the puck is shot, the sooner or later it will reach the net, respectively. This is called a direct variation. The faster or slower a puck is shot (accelerated) depends almost entirely on the amount of force exerted on the puck by the shooter. This ratio is also an example of a direct variation. The resulting equation is: F=MA, or Force=(Mass)(Acceleration). In the 2002 Winter Olympics, Canada won gold in both the Men's and Women's Ice Hockey with the United States of America getting silver in both.Figure Skating and Speed Skating Speed skating, as well as regular skating, demonstrates Newton's three laws of motion, projectile motion, the acceleration of gravity, acceleration, and friction. You probably would have never guessed speed skating was so involved, but in the name of physics it is.1st law When a person stands in his skates on a flat surface, he stays still. He will also stay still forever until some outside force, such as a huge gust of...

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