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Light of Knowledge

The science of a roller coaster

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A bare sight of people screaming on the top of their lungs on a roller coaster evokes a strong thrill that spreads like wildfire. The fast-paced thrills of a roller coaster ride are craved by each of the adventure junkies; even some fainthearted dream of making it to the end of the ride. Nevertheless, have any of the roller coaster lovers wished to know the working behind this adrenaline accelerator. Read further to know.

The ascend

A motorized chain does the work of hauling the body of big dipper on the crest of the tracks. Most roller coaster lovers observe a clink sound while the scream machine ascends; this sound is caused by the motorized chain at work.  If the ride has more than one hill, then remember the first one will be the tallest one. The tallest the hill, the more gravitational potential energy it is liable to produce. The same gravitational potential energy is the main propeller of the body of the roller coaster.

The descend

Whenever the body of a roller coaster is on the top of the hill then the work of the motorized chain is supplanted with that of gravity. Whenever the big dipper goes down the speed is approximately 9.8 meters / second squared.  Whenever the big dipper hurtles down, the potential energy starts getting transformed into kinetic energy – the energy of motion.

How did Newton’s Law contributed to the formation of roller coaster?

The concept of inertia was discovered by Sir Isaac Newton, the same person who conceptualized gravity. As per the concept of inertia (law of physics) an object in motion will remain in the same state until it is met with an opposite force of equal intensity.  The modern-day physicists and engineers took cognizance of the principle of inertia and used it for building one of the most loved and feared recreational rides – the roller coaster.

At the bottom of the tallest hill, the roller coaster is packed with kinetic energy. The intensity of kinetic energy at this juncture is unimaginable as it propels the body of the roller coaster to go around several loops. However, during the ride, most of its kinetic energy is lost due to air resistance and friction. Eventually by the time the ride gets to its end, the kinetic energy gets played out, resulting in chute-the-chute to come to a halt; although, a little help of brakes is taken.

What helps the rider remain seated during such a wild ride?

The roller coaster ride seems to be precarious; however, it is not if the seatbelts / safety bars are fastened the right way. The safety bars or seatbelts help the riders get pulled down whenever the ride is going down. Nevertheless, whenever the ride ascends upward the belt or safety bar starts pushing the body up. The mix of these two forces (pushing up and pulling down) helps in holding the riders comfortably to their seats.

By and large, every amusement park has a roller coaster ride. Further, each and every Water Park has a variety of big dippers that can be a treat for many roller coaster enthusiasts.

Featured Image Source: travelchannel.com/

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