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Optimization of handheld gauge sizes for rocker measurements of skate blades and bobsleigh runners

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This work uses numerical methods to investigate the feasibility of modifying an instrument used in speed skating to analyze blades from four different ice sports. The instrument, a handheld rocker gauge, is adapted to create a device that can effectively profile other types of skate blades and bobsleigh runners. Since there are significant differences between short and long-track blades one could expect a difference in the gauges used to study these blades. Despite this expectation, the same gauge is used in both disciplines. The usefulness of these gauges has been proven in speed skating so it is expected that they should also be useful to study hockey blades and bobsleigh runners. To optimize the gauge size for different blade types we digitize the profile of a blade, which we use to simulate gauge data. Then we use that gauge data to reconstruct the profile and compare it to the original digital profile. The result is compared for various gauge sizes and the gauge size is optimized for each of the four disciplines. The only commercially available device seems optimal for bobsleigh and long track speed skating. Smaller gauges are recommended for analyzing short track speed skates and hockey skates.

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    hockey 5–6 m, short track 6–12 m, long track 18–30 m, bobsleigh 10–150 m.


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We would like to thank NSERC and the Calgary Olympic Oval for their support.

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Correspondence to Louis Poirier.

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Poirier, L., Maw, S., Stefanyshyn, D. et al. Optimization of handheld gauge sizes for rocker measurements of skate blades and bobsleigh runners. Sports Eng 11, 201–206 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12283-009-0019-2

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  • Bobsleigh
  • Skating
  • Blade
  • Olympic
  • Sport
  • Friction
  • Ice
  • Rocker


  • 02.60.Jh
  • 02.60.Pn
  • 02.70.-c