Roller Coaster Physics

Undoubtedly roller coasters are the kings of amusements parks. Whether you enjoy a older, rickety wooden roller coaster with its thrill of positive and negative G's and a fairly wobbly feeling. Or, you prepher something newer, a tube steel roller coaster. A coaster that is faster, one that includes death defying speeds, hairpin turns, and of course the cr�me de la cr�me, loop de loops.

However, regardless of you personal tastes and preferences, through exploring this page you will find that all roller coasters are indeed bound by the same fundamental laws. Laws that govern everything in our daily lives, the laws of physics. While exploring this paper, please remember this simple fact:

Roller coasters are fast, they're fun, they're exciting, but above all, they're PHYSICS!

The basic physics that apply to roller coasters can be seen when we examine some of the simple thrills of roller coasters:

* The relation between Height and speed

* Positive and Negative G's

* The corkscrew

* The loop de loop

Some of you out there might be wondering, what exactly I mean that when I say that there is energy associated with roller coasters? And the answer is very simple, although roller coasters don't produce, or use energy as most people today would define it--electricity. They do posses what physicists call kinetic (or mechanical) energy, which is the energy of motion and is defined with the equation:


which is read: �Kinetic Energy equals one-half mass times velocity squared.�

However, there is another type of energy associated with roller coasters, and that is gravitational potential energy, which is simply the energy that the roller coaster has due to its position above the earth, and has the formula:


which is read: "Potential Energy equals mass times velocity times height."

Then, when we take into account the First law of thermodynamics (also called the conservation law), seen below:

The First Law Of Thermodynamics:

�Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it can not be created or destroyed.�

click here to see the source page.

So, after taking thermodynamics into account we see that at any given point during the roller coasters ride, (granted we are using a traditional roller coaster in which there are no extra chains, or engines to lift it other than the first hill, and that friction is negligible) we see that:

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