-Creating the coveted gold, silver, and bronze medals utilize the most basic principle of ‘chemistry’. An interesting fact about Olympic gold medal is that it is only 1% gold, rest is silver and copper. 2012 Olympic gold medal costs about $644.
-Olympic torch now-a-days uses a combination of propane (liquid petroleum gas) and butane (lighter fluid) - much cleaner burning hydrocarbons than their soot-producing precursors such as propylene. These fuel gases are stored under pressure in the bottom compartment and are turned to gases that burn through the opening of the torch. There are two flames in the Olympic torch- a larger flame that is what we see as “the flame” and a smaller flame that constantly burns to keep the larger flame burning. The egg shaped windshield on the Olympic torch efficiently shields the flame. The flame has been tested to withstand winds of up to 65 miles/hr along with the rain. Some of Olympic torch information was taken from http://abc.net.au/science/slab/torch/default.htm.
-Triathletes benefit from applied materials for better lightweight materials and enhancing performance through sports drinks/foods and understanding chemistry behind body’s energy needs.
- Weightlifting and gymnastics use powder to increase fiction and to prevent slipping. This powder is made of Magnesium Carbonate (MgCO3). Magnesium carbonate has low solubility in water hence will not dissolve in the sweaty palms of these athletes.
-In 400-m race- one of the most challenging events of the Olympics understanding aerobic and anaerobic respiration has helped athletes improve their performance.
- Football has benefited from the knowledge of chemistry by designing better quality gloves, net, ball etc.
For more information about the integral role that chemistry plays in sports, please visit “Royal Society of Chemistry” website, which has a plethora of activities for chemistry enthusiasts –teachers and students alike. Some of the information presented in this blog came from this website.
In addition, there are many careers for chemistry majors in sports-related fields. Happy reading till my next blog!