Whether you are watching a figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics or a professional hockey game on TV, you are looking at one of the great unsung marvels of the modern age — indoor ice. The fact that people can go skating in the summer, or that spectators can watch ice hockey in a warm arena, would amaze our ancestors. Let’s take a look at how a modern ice rink works.
The rink starts out as a thick slab of concrete with miles of pipe embedded in it. The pipes are filled with ice cold brine that comes from a large refrigeration plant. This plant uses the same kind of compressor technology that you find in your home refrigerator/freezer to create the ice cold temperatures. But it has been scaled up to massive size. The brine might be at 15 degrees F so the surface of the concrete drops below freezing.