Roller Coaster Physics Report

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Roller coasters are an exciting, popular and fun ride at amusement parks. The physics behind roller coasters are very interesting and captivating. This report will be about the energy changes involved during the ride, minimum energy required to make the ride safe, but also ensuring that it is also exciting, forces involved in the ‘clothoid loop’ and the weight changes experienced by the rider during their ride through the loop.
First, the roller coaster’s energy is conserved and at the start of the ride they will need to have sufficient energy to complete the ride. [3] This will help the ride to travel the vertical circle (loop) without extra energy injected. The energy involved with the roller coaster ride is gravitational potential energy
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Therefore, the object is accelerating and this acceleration is known as centripetal acceleration (ac=v²/r, ac is centripetal acceleration, v is velocity and r is radius). Centripetal acceleration also have another name, G-force, are due to two factors one is the speed of the carriage and the other is the radius of the circle (how curved the track is). This acceleration is due to the unbalanced force called centripetal force (Fc=mv²/r, where Fc is centripetal force, m is mass, v is velocity and r is radius). Greater speed will result in a greater acceleration and therefore a greater net force, on the other hand smaller radius means a smaller acceleration and net force required. Both centripetal force and centripetal acceleration are towards the centre of the…show more content…
The centripetal force at the top of the loop will not need as much centripetal force acting on the passengers through the ride due to the radius is constantly changing (and at the top it is a smaller radius which increases as to prevent the carriage slowing down too much as it moves through the loop) unlike the circular loop radius is always constant. This means that the initial centripetal force of the clothoid loop is less than the circular loop since constant radius means that centripetal force also constant, whereas clothoid loop’s change in radius means that there is an increase in centripetal force at the top of the loop. Hence, the roller coaster loop design will affect the passenger’s experience and it wouldn't be fun for the rider as they will feel discomforting if they experience a large centripetal force throughout the entire ride, as a circular loop would

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