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In the latest case study presented by Micro-Measurements®, the SmartOar® company explains that uses strain gage technology as part of a system to help rowing teams develop maximum power and speed. The strain gages on each oar are used to transducer the force of the pull. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a coach who can use the information to analyse the timing and power of the team.
In their case study, SmartOar® explain that coaches can’t see and therefore measure the timing relationship as the rowers “pull” their strokes. Matching catch and release timing is important if boats are to go fast. The shape of the force curve shows how the muscles of a rower engage through the stroke. As a practical matter oars can have considerable bend when a rower is exerting maximum effort, so reliability of the installation is important along with durability.
Hence, SmartOar® employed C2A-06-250LW-350 Strain Gages strain gages from Micro-Measurements® on the oar shaft situated in the midway to the collar and the blade. Because water was a major hurdle to overcome, the were bonded to the oar using the M-Bond AE-10 to protect from moisture. Multiple layers of protective coating were then applied to keep the water out and protect the gages physically. This was acheived by first applying the GAGEKOTE #8 as an under coat to the GAGEKOTE #5 since it is the final layer of butyl rubber and acts as an excellent mechanical protection.
It is important to mention that SmartOar® zeroed between strokes because a rowing stroke is repetitive and matching for temperature was not important allowing for a strain gage to be used in the Wheatstone bridge.
The information from the strain gages was then transmitted wirelessly to the coach.
Click here to read the full case study: Strain Gages in Rowing
To find out more, follow the link to the StrainBlogTM
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