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Mechanical Engineering Seminars - Effect of Temperature on Stiffness of Synthetic Surfaces and Racing Speed

Pei-Hsin Kuo
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469


Reasons for performing the study: The effect of the weather, season and air temperature on the condition of synthetic tracks has been a topic of considerable recent interest. No published study to date has considered the temperature effect in a systematic manner.

Objectives: The purpose of the study was to investigate two relationships: One, the relationship between the temperature and hardness of the track (measured using the Clegg Impact Tester) and Two, the relationship between the temperature of the track, the air temperature and the racing speed of horses on the synthetic surfaces.

Methods: During the training and racing at the Del Mar race track, the air temperature, surface temperature, the temperature at four points beneath the surfaces, and the Clegg Impact Value (CIV) of the synthetic race surfaces were measured. The racing speeds of six furlongs races were acquired over the period of 41 days. Student-t test, simple linear regression and Pearson’s product moment coefficient were used to identify the differences and correlations within the parameters.

Results: The results showed that the temperatures at the 3 and 4 inch layers correlated the highest and most closely predicted the stiffness of the synthetic race surface. Moreover, the fastest and average racing time might be related to the lower temperatures of the shallower layers at the synthetic track. This result implied that the racing speed at the morning training is associated with uniform and consistent track condition based on the results from temperatures and Clegg hammer data.

Conclusions: The results of this study highlighted the effect of the temperature on the synthetic track as an important factor that influences the track conditions and the speed of the horses.


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