Why is Ice Slippery?

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We all know that ice is very slippery. But why? Can you think of any other solids that are as slippery? There is disagreement as to what causes ice to be so slick. In a recent article in the journal Science, researchers were investigating this very question. Some researchers have said that ice is slick because the surface partially melts due to pressure and friction. Other studies have found that friction alone can not account for the sliperiness of ice. These researchers believe that ice is slippery because the surface has unique physical characteristics of both a liquid and a solid. Regardless of the reason, how many of you have ended up on your rear-ends while trying to get from school to your house on an icy day?

Dragonfly Challenge:
How would you compare the slipperiness of ice with other solid surfaces such as cement or wood? Can you develop a slipperiness index for ice that would help us rank the slickness of ice and other surfaces? Send your ideas and solutions to us at: Dragonfly@MUOhio.Edu

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