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Topic: Luging

Members: Adam, Alyssa, and Joe

Our Questions

How does the luge work?
What forces affect the luge?
What is the best way to counteract these forces?

Research Notes for Adam

To give yourself a good start in luging you need to propel the weight of yourself and your sled through the first ten feet of the course, in 2 seconds. Inertia is acting largely against you in this instance. Once you start down a slope gravity will take over and push you downwards. The more you weigh the more speed you will get from gravity. Friction is one force that opposes gravity. To reduce friction the steels on the sled are sandpapered and polished with diamond paste. Also aerodynamic drag acts against you. Aerodynamic drag is the friction of air against something. To minimize this friction you need to take up the least amount of area as possible. In luging suits are slippery and tight on the person and the helmet is round. Lugers train to find the ideal body position to minimize drag. G-force (the force exerted by gravity) is another force that affects the lugers, when accelerating or decelerating lugers have an average of 3 g's on their body. This causes them to feel three times as heavier as their usual body weight. G-force on a luger can reach up to five g's in banked turns. Also when in turns riders have to balance centrifugal force*and gravity. If they do not balance these two forces they will have to steer too much and will slow down, if they do, they will move smoothly through the turn.

One of the biggest concerns at the 2010 olympics was the death of luger Norad Kumaritashvili. The reason was he shot up into a curve and G-force caused him to callopse and then crash.

One way to reduce the chance of fatal accidents is to put padding on the walls becuase it will make the rider deceslerate down to zero slower, decreasing the chance of a fatal accident.

Luging is one of the most dangerous sports in the whole Olympics. Lugers race down the tracks at 90mph top speed (140 km/h.) A luge track usally consists of straight
*Centrifugal force does not really exist. It is a way to describe what happens to the body when it encounters high-speed rotation.

Research Notes for Alyssa

FUN FACT: Luge means sled in French
The luge, skeleton, and bobsled all share the same course, and a luge can reach speeds up to 55mph on the course. This amazing speed is accomplished on a sled with no brakes, and where simple leg and shoulder movements can make or break the run.

The luge is made of fiberglass with spaces on the sides for the legs of the luger(s). When the luger is positioned right, his/her feet touch the runners so that he/she can smoothly guide the sled. If the movements are not smooth, the luger's life could be at risk.
Before the run officially starts, the luger(s) push the sled back and forth. This builds momentum so he/she can have an explosive start.
As the luger(s) whiz down the track, he/she has to stay as horizontal as possible, in order to cause as little wind resistance as possible. Even the luger's clothing is designed to cut through the air smoothly. Even lifting the head to look at the track ahead (a difficult task at these speeds) slows the speed greatly. Thus, the steering of the luge must be done mostly by feel, even as the luger endures five times the force of gravity, similar to that of a fighter pilot.

Research Notes for Joe

Joe has no notes as of yet.