Nugget of Knowledge: Ice skating rinks

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How do skating rinks keep their ice from melting?

(WYTV) – How do skating rinks keep their ice from melting?

The surfaces stay frozen even in warm air because the temperature beneath the ice is so cold that no moderate temperatures above have any effect.

Even a warm burst of sunshine over an outdoor rink can make skaters take off their sweaters, but it cannot melt the ice.

In a figure skating rink, the ice is usually about two inches thick; permanent ice hockey rinks use slightly thicker ice.

If it’s too thick, it needs more energy to remain frozen and may get soft on top. If it’s too thin, skaters could cut straight through the ice.

A rink surface will need between 12,000 and 15,000 gallons of water.

The ice lies on a concrete floor and in that floor is a maze of 3/4 to one inch diameter pipes.

The pipes are placed crosswise and lie no more than two inches apart.

An Olympic size ice rink of 185 feet by 85 feet has seven to 11 miles of pipes embedded in its concrete floor.

A very cold brine solution, or a glycol solution similar to the antifreeze, is continuously pumped through the pipes.

The solution draws off heat from the floor and the solution reaches -5 to -15 degrees Fahrenheit each time it circulates.

The warmer the air above the ice, the more solution is pumped through the pipes.

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