Skip to main content

Calculated Trajectories of Curling Stones Sliding Under Asymmetrical Friction: Validation of Published Models

Abstract

In the sport of curling, stones are slid across an ice sheet, aimed towards a target area. A sliding stone does not move in a straight line, but follows a curled trajectory, deviating in a direction determined by its rotation. As yet, no satisfactory explanation for this motion has been presented, although many attempts have been made. In many of them, the curling motion has been attributed to an asymmetrical distribution of the friction force acting on the sliding stone, typically such that the friction on the rear of the stone (as seen in the direction of motion) is higher than that on the front. In this paper, the motion of a rotating curling stone sliding over ice is calculated, for different assumed distributions of the coefficient of friction in the contact between stone and ice, using a numerical method. It is shown that no redistribution of the friction, no matter how extreme, can explain the observed motion of a real curling stone.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8

References

  1. Jensen, E.T., Shegelski, M.R.A.: The motion of curling rocks: experimental investigation and semi-phenomenological description. Can. J. Phys. 82, 791–809 (2004)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Penner, R.: The physics of sliding cylinders and curling rocks. Am. J. Phys. 69(3), 332–339 (2001)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Shegelski, M.R.A., Niebergall, R., Walton, M.A.: The motion of a curling rock. Can. J. Phys. 74, 663–670 (1996)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Shegelski, M.R.A., Niebergall, R.: The motion of rapidly rotating curling rocks. Aust. J. Phys. 52, 1025–1038 (1999)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Maeno, N.: Curl mechanism for a curling stone on ice pebbles. Bull. Glaciol. Res. 28, 1–6 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Denny, M.: Curling rock dynamics. Can. J. Phys. 76(4), 295–304 (1998)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Denny, M.: Curling rock dynamics: towards a realistic model. Can. J. Phys. 80, 1005–1014 (2002)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Kietzig, A.-M., Hatzikiriakos, S.G., Englezos, P.: Physics of ice and friction. J. Appl. Phys. 107, 081101 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Shegelski, M.R.A., Reid, M.: Comment on: curling rock dynamics- the motion of a curling rock: inertial vs. noninertial reference frames. Can. J. Phys. 77, 903–922 (1999)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Öhman, L.: Curling ice explained, The World Curling Federation (2004)

Download references

Acknowledgments

Leif Öhman at the Swedish Curling association and Eugen Veszelei are gratefully acknowledged for valuable discussions.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Harald Nyberg.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Nyberg, H., Hogmark, S. & Jacobson, S. Calculated Trajectories of Curling Stones Sliding Under Asymmetrical Friction: Validation of Published Models. Tribol Lett 50, 379–385 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11249-013-0135-9

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11249-013-0135-9

Keywords

  • Curling
  • Ice friction
  • Asymmetrical friction