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Episode 21: Olympic Springs Part 2

Hello everyone.

It is already 2010, and time for our first Spring story of the year.

We have noted it many times before, but there are many types of springs used in vehicles.
In 2009, the #1 vehicle market of the work became China, surpassing the United States of America.

And for the car sales in Japan, Toyota’s Prius was hands down, the best.
One big reason for the high sales was the reduced taxes on so-called eco-cars. However, this also shows how consumers are becoming more and more conscientious with regard to lowering mankind’s impact on his environment.
Other vehicle manufacturers are also showing healthy sales for these eco-cars.
When electric cars actually become sold, in addition to the so-called hybrid cars, the fossil fuel we used to drive our vehicles, namely gasoline, will cease being sold.

This year, we will have the winter Olympics in Vancouver. They are the 21st games, running from February 12 to 28.
It has already been 22 years since the 1988 winter Olympics in Calgary. This is Canada’s second time to host the Olympic event.

We talked about the summer Olympics in our 16th Springs and Technology.
This time, let’s talk about winter sports and springs.

One of the biggest differences between winter and summer sports is that all of the winter sports use some sort of accessory.
There are almost no events like the marathon or swimming that use only shoes and clothing in the event.
Outside of the sport of curling, all of the events involve high-speeds.
Consider them…there are the ski-jump, skating, slalom, moguls, and bobsledding.
There are many places where the athletes compete on downhill surfaces, like Nordic skiing and the bi-athelon.
You could say that these sporting events are more dangerous than those in summer.
At any rate, that is because they use skis, sleds and skates.

Those accessories greatly utilize springs.
Springs work to realize the high speeds that can wear out the athlete, but springs also work to absorb much of the shock the athlete would otherwise be subjected to.

For example, skiing uses an element that has resilience in the boots.
There are also metal buckles that bind the books to the skis.
But if the skier should fall, they can safely unbind the ski and boot.
The ski itself also has resilience.
Take a look at a ski sometime. It is slightly curved in the central portion. This improves speed, and absorbs shocks.
If skis did not have such resilience when the skier was skiing or jumping, they would without doubt be subjected to great shocks when landing.
In the skiing events other than jumps, the skier carries ski poles.
In the 50’s and 60’s, ski poles were often made of bamboo in Japan.
Now they are made of carbon.
That’s right, you guessed it. Even the ski pole has resilience, so it softens the shock on the skier.
How about curling?
Of course! It employs resilience too!
You have the athletes sweeping the ice with a broom or brush. These have resilience.
The handle is made of glass fiber or carbon fiber.
The tip of the brush is a synthetic resin (for beginners) or it uses the hair of a pig or horse’s tail.
By sweeping rapidly over the surface of the ice with the brush, small impurities on the surface get pushed away and the ice also melts ever so slightly by the heat created by the friction between the brush tips and ice surface. This makes the curling stone move in a straighter line and slide further. Of course, the athletes can do the opposite by braking the curling stone using ice powder available along the path of the stone. This makes it possible for them to change the distance to stop the stone in the competition.
If the brush elements were not resilient, it would not be possible to sweep the ice surface with the speeds they can sweep.

This is as far as I can go this time.

By the way…did you know that the curling stone is made out of stone on the Scottish island of Ailsa Craig.
Let’s wish all the athletes the best for their events at this winter Olympic in Vancouver.
To all competitors from around the world: Do your best and enjoy the experience!

Anyway, I hope you all stay warm during the cold winter Olympics.

Written by Banekko (a child of spring)