DAYTON, OH (WDTN) — Getting out and getting on the ice puts some in the mood for Christmas, but how about when outdoor temperatures are above freezing? The Five Rivers MetroParks is able to keep their rink frozen, even in warmer temperatures.
Just like a refrigerator at home, the RiverScape MetroPark’s Ice Rink is cooled by ammonia, through coils underneath the concrete surface. The main difference is that your refrigerator cools food directly, while an ice rink is cooled indirectly by manipulating the phase of ammonia and allowing it to interact with another fluid with a low enough freezing point that spreads throughout the coils and cools the rink.
Andy Tarter, a park manager for Five Rivers MetroParks said, “Through those phase changes, extremely cold temperatures are in the order of -17 degrees Fahrenheit is actually what’s coming into contact with that heat transferable fluid.”
Weather conditions play a role in melting and freezing. While there is a canopy over the rink, if the sun is out, melting of the ice occurs. Wind and humidity are contributing factors to ice conditions.
“The wind can create friction on the top of the ice surface, which accelerates our melt.” He continued saying, “Water that we’re putting down to to create that smooth surface. It takes it longer to refreeze in high, humid situations.”
The cooling system, however, does have temperature restraints before the ice can no longer be skated on.
“I would say 55 degrees assuming there is no wind, and it’s pretty heavy cloud cover.”
With temperatures getting to around 60, the sun shining and winds blowing, the rink is closed for the rest of the day. You can find out if the rink is closed for the day by calling (937) 278-2607.