Synthetic ice tiles are getting a lot of attention these days. Due to the pandemic and all of the stay-at-home orders that seem to be taking over the nation many hockey players and ice skating lovers are choosing to install artificial ice flooring in their own homes so that they can enjoy some ice skating fun without having to go out in public. This is an absolutely great idea, but there are a lot of questions from the people who don’t know the whole story behind synthetic ice. Is it safe? Is it toxic? What is it made out of? We can answer a few of these questions for you.
What is Synthetic Ice?
Back in the 1950s, a company named DuPont developed a new type of plastic that had the promise of being the perfect platform to create an ice-like flooring that ice skaters could appreciate. More than 10 years later, in the 1960s, a group of people got together and manufactured the first synthetic ice flooring. Back in those days, synthetic ice was thick and cumbersome. It also had to be constantly lubricated in order for the ice skate blades to glide across it, even a little. Basically, synthetic ice is plastic that has been modified in order to provide a hard, durable surface that is capable of handling the heat of ice skates.
Modern Synthetic Ice Panels
Many years have gone by since the 1960s, and fortunately, the knowledge of science has greatly widened over that period of time. After long years of trials and errors, developers have been able to create a synthetic ice product that is made out of tiles, or panels, that are both lightweight and extremely durable. Since the ice panels are made out of plastic, it offers many ways to infuse the final product with different agents that aid in keeping the surface of the ice slick and easy to skate on. In other words, the synthetic ice of today can be self-lubricated instead of having to be constantly sprayed with gliding agents so people can skate on it.
The Toxicity of Synthetic Ice
Since synthetic ice is a plastic product that gets manufactured in a factory, there is always the threat of toxicity within the creation of the product. Synthetic ice, in itself, is not toxic unless you set it on fire. If it is burning, the smoke from the flames can be toxic. However, you will not emit any toxic vapors or agents by skating on it. Nor will it emit any toxic fumes on its own. Although factories around the world can be blamed for pollution and other problems, if you think about how much energy it takes to keep an ice rink frozen through the summer months you can see that the threat of toxicity is far more for having a real ice rink than installing a synthetic ice rink. So is synthetic ice safe? In a way, it is safer than traditional ice because it does not require refrigeration to stay solid and be useful to skaters.
Whether you install synthetic ice flooring or dryland hockey tiles, you can still give yourself a great place to practice hockey. Although you can’t ice skate on dryland flooring, you can still practice shooting and stickhandling exercises. Basically, all types of hockey flooring, other than ice, are made out of polymer plastic that is non-toxic, long-lasting, and very durable. Synthetic ice allows skaters to glide across the flooring much like they would as if they were on a true ice rink. Although it is not exactly the same, it is close enough and can even help to strengthen the skater’s core muscles.