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Skate "blades" are made of ice and attached to shoes designed to accept the blades. This allows skaters to skate on ambient-temperature surfaces year round. So you can set up a skating rink in various locations currently unavailable to ice skaters, the rink is easier to reconfigure into various shapes
or topographies (i.e., the surface needn't be flat), and you can avoid the cost of conventional rink-freezing equipment.
I'd imagine the rink operator would rent the shoes, and would be continuously molding new blades to replace used ones as they melt down. The blades would need to be thicker than metal blades, and would probably have to be replaced relatively frequently.
Let's keep the zamboni, though, just for fun.
Inspired by sufc's Ice blading idea.
[beauxeault, Oct 04 2004]
||Yeah, UB, I think that's a problem, but perhaps one that would make the skating that much more amusing to watch. I didn't want to mention it for fear of making the idea too complicated, but since you've brought it up, a rubber nub under the toe of the shoe, like those on old roller skates, would help the skater build momentum and change direction.
||And with respect to shattering, I know ice can be made more brittle or more tough by the way it's frozen. Obviously the molding apparatus would employ the conditions required for relatively tough ice. Even so, I'm sure there'd be limits. It might be a fun project for an engineer, to design the optimal shape, mass, and molding process.