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Transcript of Roller Coasters
The Physics of Rollercoasters
The history and future
of roller coasters
1. Potential energy
A roller coaster is basically a machine that uses gravity and inertia to send a train along a track
Roller coasters have a very long and interesting history.
The first concept of high-speed thrills came about in Russia in the 15-1600s.
Riders shot down wooden slopes covered in ice as high as 200m on wooden sleds or blocks of ice, crash landing into a sand pile.
In the early 1800s the French imported the Russian "coaster concept" and modified in to run on tracks and adding wheels to the sleds as the ice melted in France.
In 1817 the Russes a Belleville (Russian Mountains of Belleville) became the first roller coaster where the train was attached to the track.
The French continued to expand on this idea making more complex thrilling rides with multiple cars and more twists and turns.
...at this time in the USA the first American coaster was a converted coal mining train in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
Riders got a leisurely ride to the top of a mountain followed by a wild, bumpy ride back down for one dollar.
This idea became popular throughout the USA and eventually evolved into theme park based, wooden roller coasters.
1900s Roller Coasters
Kennywood Park, Pennsylvania
1903 - Loop the Loop at Coney Island, New York
1910 - White City in Louisville, Kentucky
2. Kinetic Energy
The coaster car will maintain a forwards speed and direction, even when moving up the track.
When the car ascends one of the smaller hills after the first lift, its kinetic energy changes back to potential energy.
The hills will decrease in height as you move along the track, because the total energy built up in the first lift hill is slowly lost to friction until there is no more energy and the car has to stop.
Skyplex will be the world’s tallest roller coaster and will be built in Orlando, America.
The expected cost is US$200 million, and construction is set to begin in 2015.
...and the future