Every synthetic ice rink company makes a claim to fame - 'most used,' 'best,' etc. Are they all the best? We'll show you what kind of synthetic ice to look for, and you can decide which is best for you.
First: Determine your needs and how you will use your synthetic ice rink.
Select Ultra-High Density (UHMWPE- Ultra High Molecular Weight Poly Ethylene) synthetic panels for:
Select High-Density (HMWPE-High Molecular Weight Poly Ethylene) synthetic panels for:
The very best and most advanced panels are ultra-dense and have beads of oil actually engineered into the polymer itself. You'll get constant and even lubrication, and the lowest COF. These panels are also very pricy, being a new technology. Depending on your needs, they may be overkill, unless you have money to burn or are Olympic or NHL candidates!
Second: The synthetic panels you choose should offer a rock-bottom coefficient of friction (COF) - the lower the better.
The densest polymers have the lowest COF - 10% or lower. A COF of over 20% means it will not be fun to skate - you'll feel like you're 'walking' more than skating.
Very low friction results in:
Third: Look for tight/seamless fitting of the panels. You don't want the blade catching on edges or ankles breaking. Snug tongue-in-groove and dovetail fittings help control the fluctuations caused by temperature changes.
Fourth: The manufacturer should not have to recommend glide enhancers, ideally.
High-tech oil embedded polymers eliminate the need for lubricants.
But the truth is - nearly every synthetic panel on the market today does require at least an occasional application of lubrication, some more than others. This is because polyethylene panels, even the very dense ones, are dry, requiring a glide enhancer.
Engineered specialty polymers with imbedded oils release those oils when the heat of the blade makes contact with the surface. These oils reduce the amount of friction and therefore the amount of wear and tear.
These ideal synthetic surfaces are also more expensive, due to the engineering required to imbed the oil. But, if you obtain the best, you'll also save on maintenance over the long haul. There will be fewer shavings to sweep up, less enhancer to wash out of your clothes after falling, and you'll enjoy your practice sessions and skating even more.
In the meantime...
Fifth: Choose water-soluble glide enhancers. Avoid silicone or glycerin solutions. See Synthetic Ice Information for more detail on glide enhancers
Do you enjoy hockey? Do you play hockey competitively? Ice skate? Figure skate? All these skills can be enjoyed and practiced on a synthetic ice rink...
(Video is presented by EZ-Glide, one manufacturer of synthetic ice rinks. We do not necessarily endorse this manufacturer as being any more or less ideal than others.)
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