Professional Education

Olympic Super Materials

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25th Feb 2018

If you are learning about materials in your science topic then why not take a look the many amazing materials that have been designed to give the edge to the athletes that use them ?

The skin suits for the Winter Olympics created a lot of attention with some rival teams suggesting that they may not be legal. They were however allowed and the attention to detail that goes into creating these skin suits is amazing.

In the events like the Skeleton, where competitors can be travelling at a terrifying 86mph, the times for the winners are decided by tenths of a second therefore anything that can improve their aerodynamics even by a miniscule amount can be the difference between going home with a medal or not.

First the athletes have a 3D scan of their bodies whilst lying on their sled. This scan is then used to study how the wind flows over the athlete in the wind tunnel. The suits are absolutely skin tight with the seams being situated in different places depending on how the athletes scan performs in the wind tunnel and different rougher materials are used to break up the airflow and help the athlete turn corners more easily.
Why not get your children to investigate these materials and carry out some investigations of their own by challenging them to be the GB designers for the winter Olympics to see if they can reduce air resistance on a Skeleton athlete or the sled itself.  Can they design an investigation to do this ?

Or perhaps they can investigate the other materials that are used by the athletes such as the crash helmets or ski poles and boards to see how strong they are.

Download our Free Lesson Plan

This easy to follow lesson takes your class through creating a curious creature with peculiar adaptations