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Hockey pucks
The next part of the puck performance equation that we'll look at can be divided into two components:
1- Coefficient Of Friction
2- Coverage
1- Coefficient of Friction
The coefficient of friction is what makes a hockey puck (or any object for that matter) slide. Obviously, the lower the coefficient, the less frictional resistance will exist between puck and surface and the further it will slide with equal force applied to it. Watching a traditional puck on ice, it's easy to see why it works so well.
ice hockey puck friction
In the above examples, the fixed variables are the vulcanized rubber hockey puck and the force applied to it (Force 'X'), which is equal in both instances. The variable that has changed is the surface of play. With both forces being equal, the puck on ice will slide a fixed distance, while the puck off ice will slide substantially less. The coefficient of friction of ice is so low it's virtually frictionless, so most any material with the same dimensions and mass would slide fast enough to support game play. But off ice, the coefficient of friction of the ice puck alone renders it useless. Perhaps it's ironic that the ice puck is made from the same material as car tires, which is used for it's exceptional 'road gripping' characteristics.
Using car tires as an example leads us, coveniently, into the next element of puck performance: 'Coverage'.
2- Coverage
'Coverage' is the term we've been using to describe the percentage of total surface area of the flat side of the puck that comes in contact with the playing surface. This is relevant for the same reason that wide car tires give you more grip than skinny ones. More coverage (surface to puck contact) increases friction and gives you more grip. And since the goal of desiging a good off-ice puck is less grip, we need to know the dynamics behind friction, and how to reduce it.