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Project Idea mms08wd mms08wd 4 117 Feb 18, 2009 by mms08jc mms08jc

Energy Conversions in a Roller Coaster

Wyatt's Notes and Ideas:
Here is a interactive roller coaster that shows the potential and kinetic energy that is used in a roller coaster.
On this site there is another animation that shows in more detailed steps how energy conversions in a roller coaster.

How a Roller coaster uses energy
In a roller coaster, the cars are pulled to the top of the first hill. This is where the cars gain the potential energy that would be needed to let the car go down the hill. As it goes down the hill the potential energy turns to kinetic energy. As it starts going up the second hill it gains some potential energy that lets it go a little farther. If there is a hill in the coaster, it converts kinetic energy back to potenitial energy. As it contiues through the loop it gains more kinetic energy and continues going through the ride.
History of the rollercoaster
The Russians were the first inventors of the roller coaster. They designed long, high ice slides. They then slid down on a block of ice or a peice of wood and crashed into a sand pile. The French then expanded on this idea. They took the same long half tubes and lined them with wax. They then started to put wheels onto the sleds. Eventually the French connected the sled to the track and it went on from there.
Roller Coaster Componets
  1. Chain Lift-This is the chain that takes the train up the first hill or lift hill
  2. Chain Dogs-These are sturdy hooks on the bottom of the train that hooks onto the chain and drags it to the top.
  3. Catapult-Launch lifts-These are new versions of taking a train to the top of the hill. They will launch the cars to the top of the hill with wheels or uses electromagnetic fields that attract the two to pull the car to the top of the hill.
  4. Hydraluic Brakes-Clamps that clamp onto the train car when it needs to stop.
Roller Coaster Forces
A few forces act on your body while you are on a roller coaster. One of these forces is gravity. You are constantly being exposed to this while on a roller coaster. As you go down a hill, up a hill, in a loop, and a bunch of others. This

Jessica's Notes and Ideas:

  • In any particle interaction, total mass + the energy after the interaction = the total energy before the interaction.
  • some mass may be changed to energy or some energy could be changed to mass
  • the combined total must always be the same
  • The Law of Conversions: Energy can be neither created nor destroyed by ordinary means. It can only be converted from one form of energy to another. It became the cornerstone of physical science.
  • Particles cann not decay or become heavier

  • momentum- the measure of the amount of motion of an object
  • Linear- objects moving in a straight line; linear momentum = mass x velocity
  • Angular momentum- objects moving at a curved or rotating on it's axis
  • the equation for accelaration is: a = -gk divided by the square root of 1 + k squared -b divided by m x v where a is accelaration, g is gravity, k is slope, b is the constant amount of dampening, and m is mass.

  • If the total before is +3 then the after total must be +3
  • When a nuetral particle decays into charged particles, the equal number of postive and negitive particles must be produced

Types of energy conversions on rollercoasters

  • Wind
  • Kinetic
  • potential
  • Coasters loose energy to friction (act on moving cars)
    • 3 types are wind, rolling friction, and braking
    • decreases the total amount of mechanical energy

This is a link that you can experiment with gravity, friction, the mass of the car, the speed of the car, the loop size, and the slope of the hills.

This is a link that tells about the history of roller coasters

This link is a variety of different things

This link shows a roller coaster and the different forces/ acceleration