A new method to determine power loss at a rowing blade

Last week our article on a new method to determine loss of power output at a rowing blade has been published at PLOS ONE.

To overcome water drag and create velocity rowers deliver power. However, part of the delivered power does not contribute to boat velocity. Instead this power is used to move the water around the blades during push off. As these water movements do not directly contribute to boat velocity, the power used to move the water can be seen as power loss. It is therefore important that rowers reduce this power loss as much as possible. In order to reduce this power loss, an accurate determination of this power loss is needed.

In this article, we present a method that allows for a valid quantification of the net water force vector and its point of application. Both parameters are required to determine power loss at the blade.  In short, the method consists of three pairs of strain gauges that measure the local bending moment at three places of the oar. With these bending moments and a system of three rotational equations of motion the net water force component that is in perpendicular direction relative to the blade, and the point of application of this force component can be calculated accurately.

The essence of this method may not only be applicable for this specific rowing situations, but may well be suited to be used for accurate quantifications of force vector components and associated point of applications in other sports, such as kayaking and different ball sports.

For a detailed overview of the method, you can read the article here.

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