The Physics Of Roller Coasters Essay

The Physics Of Roller Coasters Essay

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The Physics of Roller Coasters
The beginning of rollercoasters dates back to the 15th century in Russia, where the first coaster ride was simply created in the form of an ice slide. During the 1400’s, long and steep wooden structures were built to heights of 70 to 80 feet tall with ice frozen over the long and sloping ramp, see Figure 1 (Learner.org, 2016). Sledders would be mounted on an ice or wooden sled down a 50o drop platform with little support at tremendous speed. Ice slides were built parallel to each other, however facing opposite direction, allowing riders to travel back and forth (Learner.org, 2016). In 1817, wheeled cars which securely lock onto the track were introduced to the early development of rollercoasters and the first complete circuit was built in France (Learner.org, 2016).
By 1980, modern innovations and coaster dynamics introduced the concepts of hills and dips, vertical loops, banked curves and inversions to modern coaster rides. The development of steel-railed tracks was introduced in America which soon led to further innovations including the Formula Rossa in Abu Dhabi, the world’s highest and fastest rollercoaster to be invented which reaches a top speed of 149.1 miles per hour (Wonderopolis.org, 2016).







Rollercoasters are not powered by machines, however, it is simply driven by basic inertial, gravitational and centripetal forces (Teachengineering.org, 2016). A rollercoaster ride is a balance between health and safety factors, thrill and sensation. The thrill of a rollercoaster arises from the physical principle of the ride, the law of energy conservation. The key to a successful coaster stems from the basic motion concepts including velocity, potential and kinetic energy, centripetal forces and...


... middle of paper ...


...ters the loop to loop, Centripetal Force (Fc) starts to act upon the rider in order to keep the coaster train travelling throughout the loop to loop. It is the total force of inertia, the upward force known as the “apparent” weight (Fs) exerted by the coaster train, the downward pull of gravity (Fg) and centripetal acceleration (Ac) which acts on the coaster train as it travels through the vertical circle, refer to Figure 2.









Centripetal Force is regard as:


Where m = mass, v = velocity and r = radius of the vertical loop. The required minimal centripetal force to the coaster train at the top of the loop was calculated to be 42 673.5 N acting upon the coaster train. However, at the top of the loop, gravity reduces the veocity and as a result, KE is converted into GPE. As it speeds around the top of the loop, it is travelling at a minimum speed of 15 ms-1.

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The Physics Of Roller Coasters Essay

- The Physics of Roller Coasters The beginning of rollercoasters dates back to the 15th century in Russia, where the first coaster ride was simply created in the form of an ice slide. During the 1400’s, long and steep wooden structures were built to heights of 70 to 80 feet tall with ice frozen over the long and sloping ramp, see Figure 1 (Learner.org, 2016). Sledders would be mounted on an ice or wooden sled down a 50o drop platform with little support at tremendous speed. Ice slides were built parallel to each other, however facing opposite direction, allowing riders to travel back and forth (Learner.org, 2016)....   [tags: Potential energy, Energy, Force, Kinetic energy]

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