Roller Coasters Research Paper

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Roller coasters are a supreme example of physics in action. The way they bend, twist and turn all on their own never ceases to amaze the thousands of people that enjoy them every year. Many factors contribute to the success of the attractions including the energy transformation during the course of the ride, the multiple forces acting on the individual cars at once as well as how the body reacts to the construction and forces attributed to roller coaster design. To begin with, the transformation of energy throughout the the attraction affects the speed and potential the cars have to complete each twist and turn. Most rides begin with a motorized winch that transports the car manually to the top of a hill, usually around 300-330 feet in the…show more content…
The parts of the ride that are most responsible for these feelings are the clothoid loops, which demonstrate the physics of circular motion. Loops cause the rider and their motion to be continuously tangent to their circular shape, causing a change in direction at every instant. This change in direction then triggers continuously changing magnitudes and directions of acceleration, leaving the rider susceptible to dizziness and headaches. The feelings of zero-gravity are provoked by the force of gravity along with the normal force. The gravitational force is always positioned downwards while the normal force is always positioned perpendicular to the seat of the car. Since the orientation of the coaster is continuously changing during a loop, the normal force is thus changing as well. At the bottom of the loop, the normal force is large in magnitude because it has to be greater than the outward gravitational force in order to point inward. As the coaster reaches the top of the loop, the inward force is dominated by gravity, leaving no need for a large normal force to sustain circular motion. This lack of normal force causes the rider to feel weightless. As the car reaches the bottom of the loop, the rider feels a great amount of heaviness due to the sudden reappearance of the large normal

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