When people ask what is synthetic ice it can be a challenge to answer in a way that they can truly understand and grasp the both the concept and the product capability. So in this post I am going to do my best to give you a brief education and overview on what is synthetic ice.
Synthetic ice is a plastic
Yes, in it’s most basic form synthetic ice is plastic. To be sure there are a lot of different kinds of plastic. There are also various ways that plastic is made. So what is synthetic ice made of? Generally speaking it’s made of polyethylene although there are a few that appear to be made from other material as well.
Polyethylene and synthetic ice
There are various grades of polyethylene. I have written about this before so check out some of our earlier posts about that topic. Typically though what is synthetic ice polyethylene? We generally see products in the HDPe – VHMWPe classifications and even within these there can be quite a variety of molecular weights. For example HDPe can range from 300,000 g/mole to 500,000 g/mole.
What is synthetic ice manufacturing methods
Typically any product we see being made in North America is extruded. Extruded polyethylene does can have a molecular weight that is over 500,000 g./mole. This is a limiting factor for this method. The result is a decent sheet suitable for skating on but it won’t be the best material. Some companies claim to use a higher molecular weight and also claim they extrude the material. The only explanation for this is that they mix materials such that it will work in the extruder. The other method of manufacture is sinter pressing. This process uses extreme pressure along with heating and cooling of the material. This is advantageous because it de-stresses the material. Sinter pressing also allows for a much higher molecular weight material to be used and will produce a superior glide and far superior durability over the long term of the product. There are standard industry tests such as the sand slurry test that will demonstrate how much better sinter pressed material with higher molecular weight is to abrasion resistance than standard extruded material. That test shows how durable a product will be over time.
Ask questions about synthetic ice
So when people ask “what is synthetic ice” it is important to understand that there can be vast differences between suppliers. Clients tell me that other suppliers they talk to are reluctant to share very much product information with them. That’s unfortunate, but in order to do a proper analysis between products it’s essential to understand more about material, glide enhancers and connection systems. Then once you have all the basic information you can be better armed to make some legitimate price comparisons. Otherwise you are potentially relying on some companies marketing or sales pitch and that could lead to disappointment. Hopefully that is never the case.
What is a synthetic ice Free Trial?
It is understood that this can be a complicated and confusing purchase. SmartRink offers a Free Trial to assist you in making an informed intelligent decision. On our website just enter the Synthetic ice Free Trial button and you’ll be on your way to skating at home or anywhere, whenever you like.
Learn more about what it is like skating on synthetic ice.