May 13, 2013 — Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden can now reveal the mechanism behind the curved path of a curling stone. The discovery by the researchers, who usually study friction and wear in industrial and technical applications, is now published in the scientific journal Wear.
In the curling sport, the players shoot their stones along the ice so that they slowly slide towards the target area, almost 30 m away. The game has its name from the slightly curved “curled” path taken by the stone, when released with a slow rotation. This curled path is important since it is used to reach open spots behind previously played stones, or take out opponent stones behind hindering “guarding” stones. As soon as the player releases the stone, it is only affected by the friction against the ice. The friction can be slightly reduced, and therefore the sliding distance somewhat increased by intensively sweeping the ice just in front of the sliding stone.
- Harald Nyberg, Sara Alfredson, Sture Hogmark, Staffan Jacobson. The asymmetrical friction mechanism that puts the curl in the curling stone. Wear, 2013; DOI:10.1016/j.wear.2013.01.051