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Is there a temperature cold enough ice isn't super slippery.


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High school chemistry, or maybe physics, how ice skates work, the pressure of the weight of a human on very small surface area skates melts the ice, and the thin coating of water, what the skater glides on.  We had test questions, with serious math, about ice skating.  (Jesuit high school)

 

The weight to surface area of a car is a lot lower.  Is ice slippery to drive on in Fairbanks or Siberia?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Interesting question. Haven't been to Fairbanks or Yakutsk (would be fun sometime), but have driven in -20 to -30 F a bunch. My sense is that it's a function of the friction the tires exert on the ice, which is why driving normally and turning, accelerating or decelerating slowly does not make you slide. When it's that cold, you can take more liberties than you can at, say, +20 F. Of course, jamming on the brakes at any temperature will make you slide, even if it's rubber on asphalt without ice in between. The other factor is temperature of your tires, which builds up as you drive and can make a microlayer of water melt even if the ice underneath is cold. Someone else can talk about rubber compounds for snow tires cause I don't know anything about that.

Corollary to that is skiing in very cold temps- XC skiers need different waxes for different temps to achieve that perfect balance of grip vs glide. Wax for +20 when it's -20 and you won't slide much at all.

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