Vancouver speed-skating rink

Deconstructing the Richmond Oval

Canadian engineers have devised some nice ice.

Vancouver speed-skating rink
Alison Kelman

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We saw it with the Beijing Water Cube aquatics center and now again with Vancouver’s $177 million Richmond Olympic Oval: Host nations love it when world records fall on their soil, so they build venues that up their chances.

1. Six infrared sensors hanging from the ceiling monitor the surface temps of the ice so they can be kept at 17.6 degrees in the straights and 21.2 in the curves.

2. Computers compare surface temperature with readings from thermostats embedded in the slab and along the cooling pipes to keep them constant.

3. The rink’s refrigeration hoses are compartmentalized in the concrete slab, allowing solutions of different temperatures to be pumped through.

Changes were made to this article to correct mistakes printed in the magazine.

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