Why Is Ice Slippery?

In Sydney, ice melts because it is warm out in the middle of the day (even in winter). This creates a layer of water on top that certainly makes it slippery. But should it be slippery at night or in a cold northern climate where the air temperature is below zero? Yes, because the pressure your skates apply to the ice actually lowers its melting point allowing you to glide along a thin layer of water.

Animation in this video is courtesy of VisChem (TM), Copyright 1995, Roy Tasker

For a more complete picture of the mechanisms involved in making ice slippery, check out this great article: http://lptms.u-psud.fr/membres/trizac/Ens/L3FIP/Ice.pdf

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