Good Question: How is the ice rink at MLK Park still frozen?
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — How is the ice rink at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park still frozen with so many days above freezing?
Since the ice rink at MLK Park opened on Nov. 28, we’ve had at least 15 days above 40 degrees. Without a cooling system, that would be enough to melt the ice. Scott wants to know: “does the MLK ice rink have a cooling system that keeps the ice frozen?”
The rink does have a cooling system, says Brian Liberti, director of Buildings & Parks for the City of Rochester.
“There’s a chiller system that runs underneath the rink that keeps the slab below freezing and that’s what helps keep the ice frozen when we get the warm days,” he said.
The key to keeping the ice frozen is the concrete slab underneath. The fluid pumping underneath the concrete is glycol, which doesn’t freeze similar to the anti-freeze in your car.
“It’s kind of like a big air conditioner. It pumps extremely cold fluid into the system underneath the rink and keeps that concrete slab underneath the ice frozen,” Liberti said.
The system uses six big compressors to regulate the temperature of the glycol. It’s typically kept around 12 degrees. On warmer days, it can be turned down as low as 6 degrees to keep the concrete and the ice on top of it cold.
The rink is also painted white, which helps keep it cool by reflecting sunlight and gives it that classic icey look. Skating is free at the Roc Holiday Village through Saturday, Dec. 23. This month, more than 16,000 people have skated on the rink. The busiest day at the rink this month had more than 3,600 skaters in just one day.
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