Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    30
  • comments
    35
  • views
    1,263

Roller Coaster

Sign in to follow this  
jwdiehl88

277 views

Roller Coasters, how do they move so fast without any motor pushing them? Energy!  More specifically kinetic and potential energy.  In the beginning of a roller coaster ride, there is an ascension to the top of hill.  The purpose of this is that as the roller coaster gets higher and higher up, it gains potential energy.  You could calculate this by doing mass times gravity times height.  After the the roller coaster reaches to the top and starts fall down, the potential energy is then transferred in kinetic energy, which moves the roller coaster.  Kinetic energy can be calculated by doing one-half times mass times velocity squared.  Energy can never be destroyed or created so the the roller coaster has a constant energy total.  Therefore kinetic energy can be also transferred to potential energy.  This is why roller coasters can move without any motor pushing it.  

Sign in to follow this  


5 Comments


Recommended Comments

That's so cool to think about that energy can't be lost or created even in the scenario of a massive rollercoaster. 

Share this comment


Link to comment

I wonder how much of the original potential energy when the roller coaster is at its highest point is lost due to friction. Also, doesn't air resistance do work on the roller coaster, changing its energy as a system?

Share this comment


Link to comment

Its crazy to think that a thing can move so fast without a force being applied besides gravity! 

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

×