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The Physics of Roller Coasters (ACE Thematic Studies

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Done by: Sia Xie Ting (4A2 22)

Introduction ‡ A machine which uses gravity and inertia to move along a track ‡ Along with G-forces and centrifugal acceleration. the roller coaster gives passengers different sensations ‡ A roller coaster system involves a series of physics laws and equations .

GPE converted to kinetic energy 3. Enters and leave a loop-theloop Physics application 1. converted back to KE as it leaves . KE converted to GPE. Build up potential energy 2. Ascent up the first hill 2.Part 1: Conversion of Energy ‡A roller coaster system relies on the law of conservation of energy Movement 1. Speeds up 3.

Part 1: Conversion of Energy ‡ Energy cannot be created or destroyed. The energy is never destroyed. but is lost to friction between the car and track. . The hill climb Gain in potential energy: Ug = mgh Acceleration ‡ Increase in kinetic energy: K=1/2 mv^2 This process of converting kinetic energy to potential energy and back to kinetic energy continues with each hill.

.Part 2: Inertia and Gravity ‡ Inertia when approaching a loop keeps passengers in their seats ‡ Direction of a passenger's inertial velocity points straight ahead at the same angle as the track leading up to the loop ‡ Moving up the loop. change in direction creates a feeling of extra gravity as the passenger is pushed down into the seat.

Part 2: Inertia and Gravity In theory. a harness is not even necessary for a rider as the inertia he experiences pushes him into his seat. the acceleration force is pushing riders down in the same direction as gravity ‡ As you move straight up the loop. gravity is pulling riders out of their seats towards the ground. ‡ At the very bottom of the loop. but a stronger acceleration force is pushing them into their seats towards the sky . gravity is pulling you into your seat while the acceleration force is pushing you into the floor ‡ At the top of the loop.

v is velocity and r the radius of the circular path .Part 3: Centripetal acceleration ‡ Not a true force. but rather the result of an object¶s inertia as it moves in a circular path ‡ Centripetal acceleration equation: a=v^2/r * Where a is centripetal acceleration.

The End .