Amusement Park Physics – Design your own Roller Coaster. ‘ The designers of the roller coaster carefully crafted this thrilling ride to be just that, but you’re actually in less danger than you think. You face a greater threat of injury playing sports or riding a bike than you do on a park ride. Amusement park rides use physics laws to simulate danger, while the rides themselves are typically very safe.
How do physics laws affect amusement park ride design? In this exhibit, you’ll have a chance to find out by designing your own roller coaster. Plan it carefully – it has to pass a safety inspection.You can also experiment with bumper car collisions.’
The Physics Classroom: Energy Transformation on a Roller Coaster. ‘A roller coaster ride is a thrilling experience which involves a wealth of physics. Part of the physics of roller coaster is the physics of work and energy. The ride often begins with a chain and motor (or other mechanical device) exerting a force on the train of cars to lift the train to the top of a very tall hill. Once the cars are lifted to the top of the hill, gravity takes over and the remainder of the ride is an experience of the physics of energy transformation.’
ThinkQuest: The Physics of Amusement Parks. ‘When you’re riding in a roller coaster, do you ever stop to think that physics makes all this fun possible? Basic physics concepts such as centripetal forces and kinetic energy are related to the operation of many of our favorite amusement park rides. Learn about them here. Useful experiments and activities are offered to reinforce the concepts discussed, and the many links to other roller coaster sites are great fun.’
Java and Flash Simulations:
Funderstanding Roller Coaster. ‘This simulator is designed for kids who want to design their own thrilling coaster and educators who want to use a cool activity to simulate the application of physics by using an exciting interactive tool and access to a wonderful reference source.
It is your mission to design the coaster so that you can achieve maximum thrills and chills without crashing or flying off the track (unless that’s how you like your coaster to work!).’
Additional Links: Roller Coasters at Britannica.com (see also Roller Coaster Physics), Roller Coaster DataBase and InCoasterPædia: The Internet Roller Coaster Encyclopædia
Update: More Simulations
Roller Coaster Physics Gizmo
FearOfPhysics.com: How to make a Roller Coaster Work