Pushing the Sensory Human Experience: The Physics of Roller Coasters

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The anticipation renders you to become eager. After waiting in line, the rollercoaster cannot seem to get to the peak quick enough. The train clicks and clack's as it slowly ascends to the summit. The sun makes your hands sweaty from tightly holding on to the single lap bar that keeps you in your seat... and on that thought the adrenaline pumps through your blood. Suddenly your body flings forward as you plummet down the first drop, and then you're being forced down on the cart’s seat as you arch the bottom of the transition to going up the second hill. Wind whips in your face and, the pressure of your lap bar surprises you when you realize your body has left the seat, quickly being pulled back down into place as the earth approaches you. The hills get smaller but the experience gets more vivid. Some hills give the feeling that you have left your body behind and you’re flying forward, but then your body catches up just in time for the banked turns. The first turn, wasn’t so bad but the smaller turn causes you to black out completely. As your vision returns to you; the station is straight ahead and you sigh in relief as you have survived Nitro. What factor allows a rollercoaster to give a person that experience? Physics allows roller coasters to give the human an adrenaline rush. With physics, engineers are able to mathematically calculate each experience a rollercoaster has without even having the rollercoaster built yet. The equations of the rollercoasters allow the engineer to know the forces released on the body, the speed and acceleration of the train, the energy lost due to friction and the resistance. Before the understanding of the theories derived from physics, roller coasters were limited to up and back designs... ... middle of paper ... ..., James F., Vita R. West, and Paul Webb. Bioastronautics Data Book. Washington: Scientific and Technical Information Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; [for Sale by the Supt. of Documents, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1973. "Scale Wooden Roller Coaster." Uncrate. MMXIII, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2014 "Storm Runner Reviews." Theme Park Insider. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2014. The Creative Pad, Katt. "GIVEAWAY! Fisher Price Loops N Swoops Amusement Park {GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED}." One Perfect Day. One Perfect Day, n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2014. "The Engineering Behind Coasters Part 2: Lift Systems." Amusement Park and Roller Coaster News, Information, Photographs, & More. COASTER-net.com, n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2014. "The Physics of a Coaster." Coasterforce. Ian Bell, n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2014. "Vertical Loop." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 Mar. 2014. Web. 03 Jan. 2014.

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