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Advanced level English : technical

Sport

Skiing in the wind 

How technology helps skiers go faster than ever

 There was a time when sports just involved human stamina and muscle power; not so today...
speed skiing
     Science and technology have made their way into competition sports such as skiing and athletics, almost as much as they have in the world of motor racing.
    Equipment manufacturers are spending increasingly large budgets on research and development, and making more and more use of state-of-the-art materials, such as kevlar and carbon fibres in the production of a whole range of sports items, from skis to tennis rackets. At the same time, designers are using computer assisted design programs to produce low-weight high-performance equipment, which is stretching the capacity of today's athletes far beyond that of previous generations of champions.
    Everywhere, technology designed to help aerospace or other mechanical engineers, is being used to help sportsmen reach new frontiers of achievement.
    Members of Britain's speed skiing team, for instance, used the wind tunnel facilities of a marine technology company, in order to obtain the best possible aerodynamic efficiency, as they prepared for recent winter Olympics.
    To measure the drag forces, ski bindings were attached to a table anchored to a 6-component strain gauge directly beneath, and each team member was videoed in an air stream of 40m a second. Through a window in the chamber floor, the skier was able to see his image in profile, together with a numeric display showing the drag force he was generating, so that he could adopt the best position.
    Speed skiing was introduced in the Olympics in the 1990s..

WORDS
stamina:
ability to continue an effort - state-of-the-art: ultra modern, cutting-edge - previous - past, earlier - achievement: success - - drag forces: CX, wind resistance - bindings: attachments -  strain gauge: apparatus for measuring tension - display: visual indicator. 

 Copyright notice.
This resource is © copyright Linguapress 2015.  
Updated from an article originally published in Spectrum magazine.
This text may not be reproduced on other websites nor in printed form without written permission from the publishers. Reproduction is authorised exclusively for personal use by students, or for use by teachers with their classes.



  

Student worksheet
Skiing in the Wind

Active to passive : The passive voice is commonly used in scientific and technical English – more so than in "normal" writing.  More attention is paid to statistics and results than to the people responsible for them. 
The text uses a mixture of active and passive structures. Transform the verbs in these extracts from Skiing in the Wind from the active to the passive voice.

1. Equipment manufacturers are spending increasingly large budgets on research and development.  
2. They are making more and more use of state-of-the-art materials such as kevlar and carbon fibers in the production of a whole range of sports items.  
3. Designers are using computer assisted design programs to produce low-weight high-performance equipment.  
4. This is stretching the capacity of today's athletes far beyond that of previous generations of champions.  
5. Members of Britain's speed skiing team used the wind tunnel facilities of a marine technology company in order to obtain the best possible aerodynamic efficiency.  
6. Through a window in the chamber floor, the skiier could see his image in profile.  
7. A numeric display shows the drag force he was generating.

For more verbs in the passive, see Linguapress online grammar page: The Passive

  

Teachers section : Using this article in class

1 Compound nouns - a classic feature of technical English
Have students pick out the noun groups in which one noun is modified by another.
muscle power, competiton sports, computer assisted design programs,low-weight high-performance equipment, wind tunnel facilities, marine technology company, 6-component strain guage, chamber floor,
Ask students to explain these terms, for example: "muscle power" is power which requires or uses muscles, or physical strength.



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This teaching resource is © copyright Linguapress  2015.
Revised 2015 . Originally published in Spectrum, the Advanced level English newsmagazine.
Republication on other websites or in print is not authorised
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This resource -  © copyright Linguapress  
Photo from an original by Jon Wick - Creative commons licence
.
Reproduction is authorised exclusively for personal use by students, or for use by teachers with their classes.

Multi-copying of this resource is permitted for classroom use. In schools declaring the source of copied materials to a national copyright agency, Linguapress advanced level resources should be attributed to "Spectrum" as the source and "Linguapresss France" as the publisher.

 



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