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October
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Physics
2010

Physics
1 Project

How Does Physics Occur in Hockey?

There are many different components to hockey and with those
different components of physics as well. The makeup of an ice skate, hockey
puck, hockey stick, as well as the skating and hitting a puck.

The concept of ice skates is important to the physics of
hockey. Ice skate must be able to handle the stress that a hockey player puts
on them from stopping and turning quickly as well as accelerating. The skates
are able to handle this because of the design of the blade. By sharpening the
blades at the bottom, it allows the player to dig into the ice and have
friction, allowing them to move on the ice. It is why it is important to keep

Before playing hockey, the players
must know how to skate. There are two main movements in skating, which are
pushing against the ice to move and sliding across the ice. The ice has a low
friction, which allows the blades on the skates to move smoothly across the
ice. To start moving and accelerating on ice, the player must push off against
the ice with their skates. The friction between the blades and ice have a
perpendicular force to one another. The components of ice make it possible for
the players to dig their skates into the ice to change directions, accelerate,
or come to a stop. The greatest force occurs when the player, at rest, does the
initial push off. When the player picks up
speed their relative velocity changes.

For the players to stay balanced when accelerating forward, they
have to bend forward. This action will keep the player from falling backwards
because of the torque caused by the forward component of the force. When the
player is bent forwards, it changes the center of mass forward. This allows for
a counter-torque, which balances the torque caused by the forward component of
force, and this prevents the player from falling backwards.

A hockey puck is composed of rubber that is designed to
holdup to the intensity of the sport. They are black in color so that it is
easier to see on the ice. The puck
is always frozen before being used because it decreases the ability for the
puck to bounce as well as the amount of friction between the puck and ice. The
decreased bouncing allows for the players to have better control of the puck.
Having the low friction permits the puck to go further without it sticking to
the ice. If the puck was not frozen before being used it would cause the
players to have to lose their momentum because they would have to come to a
complete stop to hit the puck and the puck would bounce everywhere.

The
purpose of the hockey stick is to be able to hit the puck hard while
maintaining control of the puck, all while being able to hold up the stress of
the sport. Hockey sticks are commonly made of carbon fiber because it is light
and durable. There are two main components of the hockey stick that are needed
for hitting a puck which is the curve, tilt, angle, and toe of the blade.

The curve of the blade is important because it allows the
players to have more control and spin on the puck and steal from opposing team.
The players can maintain control because of the curve of the blade, which is
located at the end of the hockey stick. This is because when the puck is hit by
the curve of the blade, it moves it to the bottom of the curve. This will
generally make the puck leave the same part of the blade every time, which in
turn provides the player to have more persistent shot.
Because of the curved blade, the players can spin the puck upon contact of the
stick. The spins is desired because it provides a better stability while the
puck is traveling in the air. Having that stability in the air gives the puck a
better chance at being flat when it lands on the ice. Hockey players usually
have tape on the blade of their sticks because it provides a higher amount of
friction between the blade and puck. This increased friction helps spin the
puck. If the curve is at the end of the blade, it allows the players to steal
the puck away from the other team by “scooping” it away from them. Hockey
players usually have tape on the blade of their sticks because it provides a
higher amount of friction between the blade and puck.

Another part of the blade is the “loft” or
“face”. When looking down at the stick, the tilt angle is seen on the
blade. A larger tilt angle is desired because it allows the player to lift the
puck up off the ground and float it in the air. The angle of “lie” is the angle
formed from the blade to the shaft of the stick. The purpose of this angle is
to allow the players to rest their blade flat while skating without the puck.
The toe of the stick is the very end of the blade which can have either a round
or square shape. The square shaped toe provides an increase in the blocking
area for the tip, while the round shaped toe allows the player to maintain more
control of the puck at the tip of the stick.

The lacrosse style goal shot is a shot where the player
finesses the puck into the goal by preserving the connection of the puck and
blade. The lacrosse style goal shot is possible because of the friction force
of the blade and puck. The friction force is symmetrical to the force of the
actual shot. By exerting a great enough force, between the puck and blade, it
will create plenty of friction force to offset the force of gravity, which is
pulling the puck back down to the ground. The idea behind this shot is to
get the puck into the net by curving the puck rather than hitting the puck
straight away. In most shots, the puck is supposed to lay flat on the ice. To
properly execute this shot the puck should be on its side so that
it can have a better contact with the blade;
unlike other shots. Then using the blade of the stick, hit the puck in a
curved line. This placement of the puck allows
the puck to move against the blade with a great enough force to prevent the
puck from falling on the ground because of gravity. When this is
happening the blade and puck must be in the same direction of the curved
trajectory. This curved line shot gives the puck
centripetal acceleration. The puck must move along the curved line at a
high enough acceleration to produce enough centripetal acceleration, which will
create the force needed from the blade and puck that is needed to provide adequate force between puck and blade. The centripetal acceleration pushes the puck against
the blade which keeps the puck from allowing gravity to pull it back down to
the ground.

The most common hockey puck shot is often
referred to as the slapshot. The Slapshot is a very fast
and hard shot to make. In a slapshot the main thing that occurs is transfer on
energy, in more than one case. Energy is first transferred from the player, who
is making the shot, (kinetic) to their stick (potential). Then the energy is
transferred from the stick (potential) to the puck (kinetic). To perform a
slapshot, the player raises the stick above their head and behind their back.
They then hit the ice barely behind the puck. To make contact with the puck,
the player has to put all of their weight into the stick. This causing the
stick to bend, allowing it to store energy like a loaded spring.  The
player must pivot their hands and push their weight through the stick. This
motion allows the potential energy to be released (kinetic energy) into the
puck. The potential energy in the stick is important because it allows the
stick to hit the puck with more force than a standard shot. The kinetic energy
of the hit puck is identical to the potential energy from the stick.