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The Science of Skateboarding

Skaters seem to have found a way to defy the laws of physics, but they're actually using these laws to perform cool skateboard tricks.

The Physics of the Ollie

To perform an ollie, skaters jump over obstacles onto curbs and ramps. The coolest thing about this trick is that the skateboard seems to be glued to the skater's sneakers in mid-air. The physics behind the ollie is called rotation around multiple axes. Three forces act on the skateboard just before the skater jumps:
  • the weight of the skater.
  • the force of gravity on the skateboard.
  • the force of the ground pushing up on the skateboard
  • .
    These three forces balance out to zero, which is why the skateboard rolls along at a constant speed. The skater also needs to crouch down in order to do an ollie because a low center of mass is essential to jumping high.

    The Physics of Pumping in a Halfpipe

    The faster a skater goes in a halfpipe, the higher he can rise out of the pipe. To pump in a halfpipe, the skater crouches down while riding across the flat bottom of the pipe, but must straighten up as he enters the sloped part of the ramp. Centripetal force, which keeps a body moving in a circular path (for example, a halfpipe), makes it hard to rise up. The net work you perform by pumping to overcome the centripetal force though, gives you a net energy gain. This extra energy boost gives you the added speed and greater height at the top of the ramp or halfpipe.

    The Physics of the Frontside 180

    Skaters perform the frontside 180 by flying into the air from the top of a halfpipe. When they reach the other side of the ramp, they seem to stay there for a moment, and then turn in mid-air and skate back down the ramp. This trick is performed by using the law of conservation of angular momentum. This law states that if you're rotating, you'll keep on rotating unless a twisting force stops you. Also, in the case of the frontside 180, if you're not rotating, you need a twisting force, or torque, to help you to start rotating. So, the skateboarder uses his arms as torque to turn himself around in mid-air, pulling off the trick.

    Related Stories:

  • Learn How to Ollie
  • Learn How to Kickflip
  • How Do You Do a Heelflip?
  • The Spin on Beyblades
  • More Scientific Info!
  • 1 Comment

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    F1105477551343

    Coolest Skateboard Trick?

    • Ollie.
    • Frontside 180.
    • Rail Slide.
    • Caballerial.

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    AwesomeIvysaurGirl34
    *that awkward moment when your friend writes SO much about you and you don't know what to write back other than thanks* .-. So, thanks, a ton. You mean so much to me, those paragraphs mean so much to me.  *struggling* I have become a great roleplayer because of that first roleplay I joined. Thanks for CH. *cough*#ShipWreck*cough*. I have been more into music because of you. Thanks. I have started to play AJ because of you. Thanks (btw, you should try the tablet version of AJ, it is SOOOOO great). Thanks for everything else that I can't remember now because of meh writer's block. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL I can't think of anthing else to say, so..... Thanks, you SPLATOON Noob
    reply 15 minutes
    XxRuby_PhoenixxX
    "AwesomeIvysaurGirl34" wrote:  For example, I could die right now.  noT ON MY WATCH
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    XxRuby_PhoenixxX
    Something else you helped me with... umm... Well... you kind of... Made me better as a person. Well, now I stay on KW longer. I became a daredevil, I'm doing more risky things in life. If I hadn't pressed that "Post forum" button, I wouldn't be here. If I didn't enter the site for the first time and go to the chat, and say "Hello?", I wouldn't be here. If I didn't respond to the forum posts, I wouldn't be here. If I didn't message you back, or comment you back, I wouldn't be here.  You taught me that you should do things in your life while you can, even if you regret them or not. That maybe best friends do exist. You taught me that people should accept comfort instead of reclining it. From all the times we've talked on Animal Jam, to the times we've talked on Minecraft, it's made memories and affected the way fate will be in the future.  And if I never agreed with my mom to join the site, I wouldn't be sit here reading my book. I wouldn't stay up all night on weekends, waiting for your reply to a PM. I would be sitting in the living room watching Gone With the Wind with my mom. All of this because of Kidzworld. All of this because of you.  Thanks. 
    reply 23 minutes
    AwesomeIvysaurGirl34
    "XxRuby_PhoenixxX" wrote: Ahem.  Dear Ivy, I've known you for a year now. Damn, a long time. It feels like I met you yesterday, even though we've grown close. You've always been there for me when I'm down, and I've tried to protect you also. We joked with each other, fought with each other, but knew that we were always best friends inside still.  You've been on kidzworld for shorter than me, but you are amazing at roleplaying. You debate amazingly, and you have the the art of persuasion. If it weren't for CH, we wouldn't have met, and we wouldn't have made it to 500 and more pages of private messages.  And, for the whole year you've known me, I grant you the 2nd rank of friendship.  Level two on the friendship tier.  This is a great honor, and I hope you accept this award.  Again, thank you Ivy. For everything.  Here you go. Best friendship level number 2. This is a great, great honor and nobody, even my old best friend got this.  Two words - THANK YOU
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    AwesomeIvysaurGirl34
    Not necessarily. Turning a year older doesn't mean one year closer to death. For example, I could die right now. It doesn't matter how old I am. I could have died before I was even one year old. But I didn't, cause I was lucky. :)
    reply 27 minutes