Some people call it the "scream machine," with good reason. The history of this ride reflects a constant search for greater and more death-defying thrills. How does a roller coaster work?
Listen to a few students describe their favorite roller coasters. Point out some of the unique features of each coaster, such as hills and loops, that relate to the lesson.
Does anyone know how roller coasters work? You might think that the roller coaster cars have engines inside them that push them along the track like automobiles. While that is true of a few roller coasters, most use gravity to move the cars along the track. Do any of you remember riding a roller coaster that started out with a big hill?
If you looked closely at the roller coaster track on which the cars moveyou would see in the middle of the track on that first hill, a chain.
You might have even have felt it "catch" to the cars. That chain hooks to the bottom of the cars and pulls them to the top of that first hill, which is always the highest point on a roller coaster. Once the cars are at the top of that hill, they are released from the chain and coast through the rest of the track, which is where the name roller coaster comes from.
Example setup for quick lesson demo. Would the cars be able to make it up this bigger hill using just gravity? Conduct a short demonstration to prove the point. Take a piece of foam pipe insulation cut in half lengthwise and shape it into a roller coaster by taping it to classroom objects such as a desktop and a textbook, as shown in Figure 1.
Then, using marbles to represent the cars, show students that the first hill of a roller coaster must be the tallest point or the cars will not reach the end of the physics of roller coasters essay help.
Refer to the Building Roller Coasters activity for additional instructions. For example, talk about the point in the roller coaster where you travel the fastest, how cars make it through loops and corkscrews, and what causes passengers to feel weightless or very heavy at certain points in the roller coaster.
The order in which you teach these points, and possibly more, is not critical to the lesson. Also, it may be more engaging for the students to ask questions based on their experiences with roller coasters and let those questions lead the lesson from one point to the next.
All of these points can be demonstrated using the foam tubing and marbles, so use them often to illustrate the lesson concepts. Lesson Background and Concepts for Teachers The underlying principle of all roller coasters is the law of conservation of energy, which describes how energy can neither be lost nor created; energy is only transferred from one form to another.
In roller coasters, the two forms of energy that are most important are gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy. Gravitational potential energy is greatest at the highest point of a roller coaster and least at the lowest point.
Kinetic energy is greatest at the lowest point of a roller coaster and least at the highest point. Potential and kinetic energy can be exchanged for one another, so at certain points the cars of a roller coaster may have just potential energy at the top of the first hilljust kinetic energy at the lowest point or some combination of kinetic and potential energy at all other points.
The first hill of a roller coaster is always the highest point of the roller coaster because friction and drag immediately begin robbing the car of energy. This is the maximum energy that the car will ever have during the ride. That energy can become kinetic energy which it does at the bottom of this hill when the car is moving fast or a combination of potential and kinetic energy like at the tops of smaller hillsbut the total energy of the car cannot be more than it was at the top of the first hill.
If a taller hill were placed in the middle of the roller coaster, it would represent more gravitational potential energy than the first hill, so a car would not be able to ascend to the top of the taller hill.
Cars in roller coasters always move the fastest at the bottoms of hills. This is related to the first concept in that at the bottom of hills all of the potential energy has been converted to kinetic energy, which means more speed.
Likewise, cars always move the slowest at their highest point, which is the top of the first hill. A web-based simulation demonstrating the relationship between vertical position and the speed of a car in a roller coaster various shapes is provided at the MyPhysicsLab Roller Coaster Physics Simulation.
This website provides numerical data for simulated roller coaster of various shapes. Friction exists in all roller coasters, and it takes away from the useful energy provided by roller coaster.
Friction is caused in roller coasters by the rubbing of the car wheels on the track and by the rubbing of air and sometimes water! Friction turns the useful energy of the roller coaster gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy into heat energy, which serves no purpose associated with propelling cars along the track.
Friction is the reason roller coasters cannot go on forever, so minimizing friction is one of the biggest challenges for roller coaster engineers.Roller Coasters This Essay Roller Coasters and other 64,+ term papers, Just like Physics, roller coasters are often thought of as being scary and intimidating.
However, it can also be fun and exciting once you get the hang of it. In fact, roller coasters are meant to be fun and amazing but it can also be scary. Roller Coaster; Roller 4/4(1). The Physics of Roller Coasters Essay - The Physics of Roller Coasters The roller coaster has its beginnings in Russia where during the 's.
Physics of Roller Coasters Essay - Roller coasters are driven almost entirely by inertial, gravitational and centripetal forces. Amusement parks keep building faster and more complex roller coasters, but the fundamental principles at work remain the same.
Roller Coasters The main energy transfers that happens as a “car” travels along the track from the start of the ride to the end.
1. The main energy transfers are between gravitational potential energy (GPE) and kinetic energy (KE), and the eventual decrease of mechanical energy as .
Physics of Roller Coasters. Print Reference this. Published: 26th July, Last Edited: Need help with your essay? Take a look at what our essay writing service can do for you: Physics Essay Writing Service Essays More Physics Essays. We can help with your essay Find out more.
Essays;. Physics of Roller Coasters Essay Sample “A roller coaster is considered any elevated track with curves and rises, carrying passengers in open, .