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Behind the Scenes: Theme Parks

2009 COMPETITION SCENARIOS


Get ready to experience engineering! TEAMS 2009 is taking students behind the scenes and showing them the engineering involved in designing, building and running America's theme parks! Every year millions of people get their adrenaline pumping by visiting one of the hundreds of amusement parks thats synonymous with summer fun! In the United States alone, there are an estimated 300 million amusement park visitors tallying a total of 3 billion rides per year. Whether visiting Bush Gardens in Tampa Florida, Cedar Point in Sandusky Ohio, Silver Dollar City in Branson Missouri, any of the Six Flags or Disney Parks, entire families are having countless hours of entertainment. So who is responsible for making all of this fun and entertainment happen? Engineers! It takes engineers with all different backgrounds from a wide range of disciplines to create the amusement parks we enjoy. While all the work of these engineers takes place behind the scenes, their ultimate goal is to create exciting rides and activities while keeping the safety of all visitors and guests at the top of their priority list. Get active and explore how it all happens! JETS provides you with the following eight competition scenarios to offer a preliminary overview of the question content that will be posed during the 2009 TEAMS Competition. Scenarios may be edited and expanded upon in the questions of the actual competition; however the overall content will remain. Team members are encouraged to get started by researching the information contained in the scenarios including any unfamiliar terms in preparation for the competition. A short list of related links is also provided at the end of each scenario and contains information for more exploration. Needless to say, these links should not be considered all inclusive and team members/coaches are strongly encouraged to go beyond the provided list during research and preparation. Remember to visit the JETS web sitejets.org/TEAMSfrequently throughout the competition season for additional information and competition news.

All statistical data included in the introductory section are 2005 rough estimates and were reported by T. Harold HudsonAll About Parks, Rides and Attractions Note: These scenarios are for reference use only and include links providing direct access to Internet sites not controlled or maintained by JETS. JETS takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those links and sitesor links found within those sitesand does not exert any editorial or other control over other sites.

Scenario #1

Biological, chemical and mechanical engineers are indispensable in maintaining the health and welfare of large water mammals participating in showcases of amusement parks around the world Water shows in amusement parks that specialize in marine animals are popular venues to teach visitors the importance of a quality marine habitat. Demonstrated at these shows are the tricks that trained sea mammals like whales and porpoises can perform. To keep these creatures healthy and happy, it requires a great deal of engineering design. Your team has been asked to design a new killer whale showcase called The Orca Opera to be located near St. Louis. You will be responsible for the mechanical systems and chemical processes necessary to maintain the appropriate environment for these large water mammals. The water must be filtered and chemically treated to eliminate bacteria and to remove organic matter. The water temperature cannot vary to the extremes of the local climate. Their health care and diet must be considered. Your engineering team may also be asked to plan for alternative missions for the facility such as possible research projects involving bottlenose dolphins.

Get Active!

Discover how engineering impacts marine life:


How the Georgia Aquarium Works http://science.howstuffworks.com/georgia-aquarium.htm SeaWorld Splash of Math Teachers Guide http://www.seaworld.org/just-for-teachers/guides/pdf/splash-of-math-4-8.pdf Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums Research Report http://www.ammpa.org/AMMPA2008ResearchReport.pdf

Scenario #2

Animatronics engineers create special effects not only in theme parks but in many other parts of the entertainment industry. They combine animation, make-up effects, and electronics. Many engineers work in the field of animatronics for theme parks such as Universal Studios and Disneyworld. Developing a remote controlled Hulk, gorilla, or full-scale dinosaur requires the work of a specialized engineering team. The conceptual designer of a new attraction is interested in making people believe that the figure is alive via special effects such as the scent of bananas on King Kongs breath. As an engineering team, you will work from that starting point to determine the feasibility of the special effect. To determine feasibility, you have to approach the problem from the perspective of safety, reliability, guest impact, and budget constraints.

Get Active!

Explore the engineering of animatronics and its affect on the human senses:
The Science of Smell: Parts One through Four Part 1: Odor Perception and Physiological Response http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1963A.pdf Part 2: Odor Chemistry http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1963B.pdf Part 3: Odor Detection and Measurement http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1963C.pdf Part 4: Principles of Odor Control http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1963D.pdf St. Croix Sensory Testing and Training Company and Odor Parameters www.fivesenses.com Scentair: Scent Marketing Solutions http://www.scentair.com/

Scenario #3

Engineers are responsible for the design and operation of safe, exciting, and cost effective rides in amusement parks. Roller coaster engineering is not limited to one engineering discipline. Rather, electrical, mechanical, structural, and other engineering disciplines are involved in the process. In this scenario your engineering team will be asked to improve an existing ride. An amusement park is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its opening. To commemorate this event, the park managers have made serious plans to make improvements to all aspects of the park, including its rides. Since the managers do not want to invest in a completely new ride, they decided, upon consulting a ride manufacturer, that the most economical decision was to add an inversion (loop, barrel roll. etc) to an existing ride. Your engineering team has been asked to determine the feasibility of the new addition and the effect it will have on the existing ride. The study should include mechanical, structural, energy and economical considerations.

Get Active!

Learn more about economic roller coaster design:


Amusement Park Physics http://www.learner.org/interactives/parkphysics/ Roller CoastersInventing the Scream Machine http://search.eb.com/coasters How Roller Coasters Work http://www.howstuffworks.com/roller-coaster.htm Engineering Economics http://www.fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build02/PDF/b02155.pdf

Sce enario #4 4

Industrial engine eers appro oach the operation of an a amusement park as an t s ation prob blem. For t them, the park is simulated as a factory floor and its y d optimiza operatio ons such as queue line size, sh a hape, lengt and ride capacity are treate as th e ed process ses that are in consta e ant need of optimizat f tion. One metric that is very impo ortant in a theme par rks operation is its capacity. Hourly o very importa to keep ant ping guests happy and the queue lines capacity of a ride or show is v All ack their ho ourly count with rigor. These counts ca include d ts an down short. A parks tra time, length of qu ueue, ride vehicles d dispatched, and the n number of people on the n nitored data is used to determine how healthy the par is. The re a rk esults attraction. The mon ecisions abo whether a new show should be added, whe out w ether have an immediate effect on de more ve ehicles shou be put on-line for a specific attraction, or whether the queue line uld r e should b lengthene Your eng be ed. gineering te eam has bee hired to ensure a sm en mooth oper ration of the p park. Other factors th r hat need to be consid o dered are the various skip-thes -line technologies many parks are us p sing. Giving the guest a reservatio g on-in-line ad dds to the c chaos ng ue gths. Most o the science involved in a parks capacity ha an of as of queuin and queu line leng industria engineerin focus, bu ride desig al ng ut gners shoul also be c ld concerned w with these is ssues because they need to design a ride to have a certain c t e capacity and reliability. d

Get A Active!

Discov how ind ver dustrial eng gineers ke eep theme park visito moving along: ors
Queue A Areas: First-C Come, First-Served http://en.wikipedia.or rg/wiki/Queue e_area Disneys Fastpass http://en.wikipedia.or rg/wiki/FASTP PASS US Paten Office: Ma nt anaging Attraction Adm mission http://pat tft.uspto.gov v/netacgi/nph hParser?Se ect1=PTO1&S Sect2=HITOF FF&d=PALL&p p=1&u=%2Fn netahtml%2F FPTO%2Fsrch hnum.htm&r= =1&f =G&l=50&s1=617320 09.PN.&OS=P PN/6173209& &RS=PN/6173 3209 Changing LinesPay g ying to Skip the Queues at Theme Parks p http://ww ww.slate.com/?id=206767 72 Queue M Management There is no magic in m t: managing th heme parks s. http://iew w3.technion.a ac.il/serveng/ /Homeworks/ /HW1_Amuse ement_Park_ _Mgt.pdf

Scenario #5

The design of public transportation systems, including the ones found in amusement parks, requires the input of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers. Construction engineers have the opportunity to turn those ideas into reality. Monorails are sometimes used in zoological parks to bring visitors closer to the animals without disrupting their habitat. Your team is to design structural components such as a vertical support pier and the guide rail beam between two piers such that it will perform adequately in all design conditions. In a MAGLEV monorail system, the lifting force of the electro-magnetic coils is just as important as sizing the heat sink for the solid-state triac switches used to control the electrical power to the coils. Providing electric power for lighting and air-conditioning to each car offers opportunities for innovative energy solutions such as flywheel storage, LED lights, and thermal storage. Your engineering team may also be asked to identify alternative on-board power solutions.

Get Active!

Learn more about monorail systems and the engineering behind their power:
The Monorail Society http://www.monorails.org/index.html Magnetically Levitated Trains http://www.maglevpa.com/tech.html Explaining the Physics of Everyday Life http://howthingswork.virginia.edu/electric_power_generation.html

Scenario #6

Control engineers are concerned with the safety of every vehicle utilized in the rides of an amusement park. The concerns expand to both the design and the construction phases of the vehicles. Your engineering team is asked to consider ways in which to assure the safety of the passengers who enjoy the rides. Many popular theme park attractions feature rides. There are a wide variety of ride vehicles, including roller coaster trains, motion simulators, boats, monorails, chain driven 'omnimovers', cars-on-tracks, locomotive trains and even wire guided vehicles. One thing that all of these rides have in common is the need for safety. This may be achieved through mechanical means, control systems or a combination of both. Your engineering team is asked to explore various methods for assuring ride passenger safety, including block zone systems, cycle testing of sensors and redundant control systems.

Get Active!

Discover how engineers make transportation and rides safe for park visitors:
The Theory of Probability http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability

http://ecow.engr.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/getbig/ema/202/emmert/designproj/coaster.pdf
Roller Coaster Database http://www.rcdb.com/ How Roller Coasters Work www.howstuffworks.com/roller-coaster.htm

Roller Coaster Physics

Scenario #7

The engineering design of amusement park rides involves many engineering disciplines including mechanical, structural, electrical, and geotechnical engineering. This scenario will emphasize the numerous and multi-faceted design considerations that must be undertaken by roller coaster engineers. This scenario will give you a much greater understanding of what is involved in the design of a typical steel roller coaster. A new steel roller coaster is to be constructed in a new amusement park and your interdisciplinary engineering team has landed a contract for the design work. The ride will be rather standard for a steel roller coaster. Features will include a traditional lift hill, a sub-grade tunnel and soaring hills. Your team will be responsible for the design of mechanical systems such as the chain lift for the first hill; and structural systems such as the track and the members that support the track. Geotechnical engineers will provide you with existing soil conditions in order for you to design the foundations. Also, you will assist the contractors engineers in the estimation of materials and cost.

Get Active!

Find out what it takes to build thrilling roller coasters:


Force, Work and PowerUCLA Physics Connection http://www.physics.ucla.edu/k-6connection/force,wp.htm The Science of Structures http://www.yesmag.ca/focus/structures/structure_science.html
(Note: You will need JAVA installed on your computer to run this simulator.) http://www.funderstanding.com/k12/coaster/;http://www.funderstanding.com/k12/coaster/help.html#acceleration

Roller Coaster Simulator and Definition of Terms

Definition of Stress

(Note: While this site includes in-depth math that may be difficult to follow, students should at least become familiar with the rest of the material.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_(physics) Definition of Bearing Capacity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearing_capacity

Scenario #8

Mechanical engineers play an important role in the design of water park rides, such as water slides and tubes which bring amusement to children and adults worldwide. Theme parks such as Kings Island and Six Flags attract many visitors with their array of exciting rides. Since the majority of the theme park season occurs during the summer months, these parks are able to include water rides. During the summer of 2008, Holiday World an Indiana Park announced plans to build Pilgrims Plunge, the worlds tallest water ride. The system is designed to lift a boat full of riders through an open elevator up to 131 feet and then to let the riders plunge at 45 degree angle and at speeds of 50 mph. The impact creates a wave of water 45 feet high and 90 feet wide. This problem scenario is similar to the Pilgrim's Plunge model. In order to design this type of a ride, engineers must consider the dynamics of the rides and their impacts on the park. The study of these impacts must be done in order to ensure the practicality and feasibility of the ride. In the design of a water slide, several parameters must be taken into consideration. These parameters include, but are not limited to, the fluid dynamics of the water being used on the slide, the power required by the slides water pump, and the effects on the riders. The energy usage and cost of running the water pump must also be considered. Your engineering team is charged with the task of completing the design calculations.

Get Active!

Explore how engineers use water dynamics to give park visitors a cool ride:
Applications of Bernoulli Equation http://www.it.iitb.ac.in/vweb/engr/civil/fluid_mech/examples/eg3_ans.htm Centrifugal Pumps: Operation, Maintenance and Troubleshooting http://www.cheresources.com/centrifugalpumps4.shtml Fluid Mechanics http://www.mcasco.com/p1fluidmech.html Pumped : Design Squad Challenges http://pbskids.org/designsquad/challenges/s1-ep10.html

More to Explore

Check out the links below for more information on engineering theme parks! Attraction Design www.themedattraction.com Entertainment Engineering www.entertainmentengineering.com/v5.issue09/index.html Funworld Magazine www.iaapa.org/industry/funworld International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions www.iaapa.org National Amusement Park Historical Association www.napha.org/nnn NAPHA 2007 Survey Results www.napha.org/nnn/LATESTINFO/Surveys/tabid/60/Default.aspx Walt Disney Imagineering www.careercornerstone.org/pdf/compsci/hartman.pdf

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