Ice Testing on the MTM

Although the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing finished over the weekend and the athletes have headed for home, at PCS Instruments we aren’t quite finished with ice. While watching the Olympics (and as demonstrated by our previous post about Curling which you can read here), we became a bit obsessed with ice and its frictional properties.

To that end, for the MTM we designed and created ice versions of our MTM standard disc specimens, and rather than just popping them in our drinks we decided to run some tests with them. We placed a standard ball specimen in the freezer with our ice specimens, cooled our in-house MTM’s pot down to -8°C using the MTM cooler, and set up a pin-on-disc profile that ramped up the disc speed over time at a constant load of 10N.

What we saw when running the tests (other than that ice is tricky to work with) was that there was initially a high coefficient of friction between the ball and the ice disc which quickly reduced over the first five seconds of running before becoming more constant, although still slowly declining.

Whilst we haven’t investigated this enough to draw any conclusions, we can theorise that the rapid initial reduction in friction coefficient could be due to high local pressures at asperities on the disc surface causing melting, resulting in both a smoother disc (hence less friction) and a layer of water along the disc track, which could act as a lubricant leading to further friction reductions. This lines up quite well with the information we shared last week about how researchers believe the friction of a curling stone causes localised melting and changes to friction between the stone and the ice. Having said all of that, we are the first to admit we haven’t done enough research to draw any solid conclusions but have certainly enjoyed trying something new on the MTM!

Although this test and the ice MTM specimens were really just a bit of fun, PCS Instruments is here to help you with all your custom testing needs and can design and manufacture a variety of specimens. We stock specimens in a wide range of standard materials, but can also manufacture custom materials to fit almost any testing requirements. This selection of test specimens ranges from PDMS through to Tungsten Carbide, and everywhere in-between.

With all our machines being designed and manufactured at our site in London, and our machining partners nearby, we’re always ready to help you with all your testing needs. Simply get in touch with us through our contact page and we’ll be happy to help!