Synthetic ice sheets are sheets of a plastic polymer that interlock to form artificial ice rinks. The first synthetic skating floor was marketed in 1982. Since that time, improvements have made synthetic ice less sticky and easier to skate on, with 90 percent of natural ice's glide factor.
Synthetic ice sheets offer more resistance than natural ice, requiring more effort to skate on them. They also wear down skate blades quickly. Rinks made of synthetic ice need regular cleaning, but temporary marks or stains wear off with time. Synthetic ice rinks are often used where natural ice is impossible due to temperatures or impractical due to cost factors.