For those that know me, you know my love for saltwater fish goes deep, right down to the water. There’s also a chance that you will get into a discussion with me about RODI water. What is that? Isn’t all water, just water? It turns out all water isn’t the same. RODI is the acronym for Reverse Osmosis De-Ionized water. It refers to the process by which water is cleaned. In this case, all the ions and molecules are removed leaving only pure water afterward. I use RODI water for my fish tanks to reduce unwanted particulates which feed algae growth. However, I am not the only one that uses RODI water. Believe it or not, it is also the choice of Olympic ice makers.
So, why use RODI water at the Olympics? How does it help with the quality of the ice surface? In a nutshell, RODI water is used to ensure the ice is flat and smooth. The tiny particles in ordinary tap water pool during the freezing process, leaving little dents on the surface. For most of us, that’s not a big deal, but when you compete at the Olympic level, those imperfections make a difference. Depending on the sport, ice quality can make the difference between gold or not.
One sport concerned with ice quality is curling. I’ve watched some matches recently and it is mesmerizing. In case you aren’t familiar with curling, the athletes slide a stone puck, called a rock, down an ice lane. The lane reminds me of a long shuffleboard or bowling lane. The athletes move ahead of the rock, with what looks like a Swiffer, to sweep the ice. Their goal is to get the rock where they want it on the painted target. As you see, the ice needs to be extremely flat to ensure the rock glides straight and true.
If you are watching the Olympics and catch a curling event, think about the ice. And remember, someone carefully chose pure water for a smooth finish. You can also learn more from this article https://www.popsci.com/ice-technicians-winter-olympics. In any case, it’s nice to know I am not the only person obsessed with RODI water.