Magazine article ASEE Prism

Well-Suited

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Well-Suited

Article excerpt

U.S. speedskaters have a history of winning at the Winter Olympics. But at this year's games in Sochi, Russia, the U.S. team was shut out. No skater finished higher than seventh. Some skaters and experts were quick to blame a special skintight aerodynamic suit developed by Under Armour, the team sponsor, with the help of Lockheed Martin engineers. The Mach 39 suit, made of five fabrics, has an air vent on its back to release body heat, but there were fears the vent was letting air in and slowing the skaters down. Midway through the events, the team switched to its old Nike suits. But the losing streak continued. That took the focus off the suits, and the team quickly renewed its partnership with Under Armour for an additional eight years.

If a suit affects an athlete's speed, it can mean basic maneuverability and survival for an astronaut. …

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