Synthetic ice is a great way to improve ice skating skills from the comfort of your own home. Hockey players from all over the world rely on synthetic ice flooring so they can continue to practice and stay in shape all year round. As many people already know, ice melts in warmer weather. So, synthetic ice has a huge advantage over real ice in several ways. It doesn’t melt, it doesn’t cost much to maintain, and it skates just as good as the real thing. This has a lot of people wondering the same thing. What is synthetic ice made of? Is it safe? What is it? Hopefully, by the time you finish this article, you will know the answers to these questions.
What is Synthetic Ice?
Back in the 1950s, some people got together and decided to try out ways to make artificial ice to skate on. They used materials like polyoxymethylene plastic. They had a lot of drawbacks and could not successfully glide on this type of flooring without the help of a silicone compound as a lubricant.
In the 1980s, they came out with high-density plastic. They were able to create great synthetic ice panels that were made out of polyethylene. Although they still had to be sprayed with a gliding fluid and had to be cleaned every month, they worked well for the time being.
Synthetic ice is still made from polyethylene plastic, but science and technology have come a long way over the last 20 years. The synthetic ice we know today is self-lubricated and has no need for additives or extra lubricants.
Synthetic Ice Panels
Synthetic ice usually comes in panels or tiles. They come in different shapes and sizes. Bigger panels are usually rectangular in shape 24” by 48,” and the smaller ones are 12” by 12.” The tiles and panels join together by way of a tongue and groove system that allows them to perfectly align with each other without having a raise or any gaps in the surface. This way, the flooring is much like ice in most ways. The puck glides gracefully across the flooring, and the skates do too. Some people prefer synthetic ice to real ice because it is so much easier to manage.
Is Synthetic Ice Safe?
Since synthetic ice panels are made of a type of plastic, you might wonder whether or not they are safe. If you take a minute to think about how much energy goes into keeping a real ice skating rink fresh and frozen you might be able to see that there is actually a benefit to using synthetic ice as opposed to real ice. Although synthetic ice is made out of polyethylene plastic, it does not emit toxic fumes or chemicals into the air. This actually makes it better for the environment than real ice rinks. As for it being safe to skate on, only if you know how to skate! Any hockey player knows that there is always a risk of injury on any rink at any time. Hockey is only as safe as the players make it.
The Bottom Line
Whether you call it synthetic ice, artificial ice, or manufactured ice, it is all the same. It was made so that ice skaters and hockey players can continue to practice and play throughout the year in all weather conditions without having to have all of the headaches of maintaining frozen ice. Modern-day technology has allowed inventors to create ice panels that are so easy to install; you can build your own ice rink right in your backyard, or garage. Any serious hockey player knows the value and importance of being able to practice continually. Synthetic ice makes it possible to do so.