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# Jessica Danielle Catan Funa February 28, 2012 Period B: Physics This article pertains to energy.

It begins by telling how most people believe those old wooden roller coasters are still the best. Roller coasters are such a great contraption because of the elements of physics involved within the ride. There are gears that steadily bring the car to the top of the peak. Then it dramatically stops, and suddenly gravity brings the car into a steep plunge bringing you into a free fall till you hit the bottom. Afterwards you are brought to the next destination. You go through loops and series of twists and turns. Then after what seems like a short moment that only lasted a couple of minutes the fun journey is over. Roller coasters are one of the greatest inventions of the universe. People, such as me, are probably too preoccupied with having so much fun to realize all the physics involved in roller coasters. Roller coasters show the basic laws of how energy behaves. Almost everything requires energy, and that energy follows two basic rules: energy is conserver and energy always goes from ore useful to less useful forms. Energy comes in many different shapes and forms, and these forms are interchangeable. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. This statement is known as the First Law of Thermodynamics. Thermodynamics relies on three concepts: work, energy, and power. Physicists believe work is done every time a force is used to move something. The amount of work done depends on how much force is used and how far the object moves. Work equals force times distance. The greater the force applied or the longer the distance moved, the more work done. No matter how much effort you expend, if nothing moves no work is done. Energy is the

ability to do work- the ability to exert a force. Power is a measure of how quickly work is done: work done divided by the time it takes to do it. Energy as stated before comes in many forms. It can be converted from one form into another, but all the forms have one thing in common: they involve a system that is capable of exerting a force. One example of a type of energy is potential energy. The term potential signifies that the system could do work, but isnt doing o at the moment. There are many different types of potential energy such as elastic potential energy and chemical potential energy. The other example of energy is kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. Every atom in a material is in motion, either moving freely, like a gas, or vibrating, like a solid. The kinetic energy of all these atoms is related to what we call heat. The faster atoms move, the greater the heat energy. This way of explaining the nature of heat says that heat is simply a special kind of kinetic energy- the kind associated with atoms in motion. Other kinds of energy are electrical energy and sound, which is a special kind of kinetic energy. Then in the twentieth century, a new category was added to the list of known type of potential energy-mass by Einstein. He stated the famous equation: E=mc^2. The equation says that mass can be converted into other forms of energy. Once again energy cannot be created or destroyed, only shifted from one type to another. Total energy is conserved. This is called the First law of Thermodynamics the conservation of energy. Conservation of energy is one of the most widely known principles in science. The First Law of Thermodynamics tells us that the higher the roller coaster climbs, the faster well go. It also tells us that chemical energy or calories we take in as food must either be used to do work or stored as fat. During a roller coaster ride electrical energy in converted into gravitational potential energy. Then the gravitational potential energy is transformed into kinetic

energy. This will continue on throughout the entire ride until the breaks cause the ride to stop entirely. We take chemical potential energy in the form of food, which is modified and stored in our cells. That chemical potential energy is constantly used to keep us warm, drive our muscles, and perform work. You cant do anything without energy. So life is a constant struggle to gather and use energy. Not only can energy be converted from one form to another, it can also be moved from one place to another. Heat moves from one place to another in three different ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction relies on the transfer of heat energy through the motion and collisions of individual atoms. Hot air rising is an example of convection. Heat given off from the light of a fire is called radiation. In fact, the only type of heat that can travel through space is radiation.