Materials Science and Engineering 24, Section 2

Physics and Materials Science of Skateboarding (1 unit, P/NP)

Professor Daryl Chrzan
Thursday 10:00-11:00, 3119 Etcheverry Hall, Class number: 36386

The popularity of skateboarding and other extreme sports is increasing at a rapid pace. The sports are termed extreme in part because they place the participants and their equipment under extreme conditions. This seminar will explore the extreme conditions associated with skateboarding, and how materials science has been used to evolve the original sidewalk surfers into the modern-day skateboard. Topics to be discussed include the physics of skateboarding (including an analysis of the inevitable slam) and the implications of this physics for the design of wheels, boards, bearings, trucks and safety equipment. The course includes experiments to measure rolling friction and the breaking strength of skateboards.

Instructor Bio

Professor Daryl C. Chrzan received his Ph. D. in Physics, specializing in condensed matter theory, from UC Berkeley in 1989. From 1990 to 1995, he was a Senior Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore. In 1995, Professor Chrzan joined the (now) Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UC Berkeley. His research emphasizes the prediction of the physical properties of metals and semiconductors based on knowledge of the atoms composing the materials. He has published over 70 papers, and presented over 40 invited talks at universities, laboratories, and international meetings Professor Chrzan spent much of his youth on a skateboard, and can often be found carving the bowls at nearby skateparks.

Faculty web site:


There are no special prerequisite constraints–just an interest in skateboarding, physics and materials science.