The PHYSICS of the RollerCoaster
Roller Coasters work by converting Gravitational Potential Energy into Kinetic Energy. Once the coaster carriage is pulled to a height by dog chain or other mechanical methods, the carriages relies totally on gravity to do the rest.
ENERGY
Energy is an amazing thing. Energy can not be created and it can not be destroyed. This is the main reason that roller coasters work. Energy is converted from Potential Energy, which is stored energy to Kinetic Energy, which is moving Energy.
ENERGY
Energy is an amazing thing. Energy can not be created and it can not be destroyed. This is the main reason that roller coasters work. Energy is converted from Potential Energy, which is stored energy to Kinetic Energy, which is moving Energy.
POTENTIAL ENERGYThe first type of Energy that we are going to look at is Potential Energy. Potential Energy is a form of Stored Energy in relation to an objects height. The formula for Potential Energy is:
Potential Energy = mass x gravity x height
Still confused?
An object will gain Potential Energy the higher it gets. This is because it has gravity acting on it. What happens if you jump out of a plane? That’s right, you fall to Earth. You actually accelerate due to gravity acting on your body. The higher you are, the more speed you will gain. So when you’re in the Aeroplane 1000 metres above the Earths surface you have a lot of Potential to drop really fast. This is the same concept of Potential Energy. 
KINETIC ENERGYThe next type of Energy is Kinetic Energy.
Kinetic Energy is moving Energy. The formula for Kinetic is: Kinetic Energy = ½ mass x velocity2
Mass is similar to the weight (but different, I’ll explain later) of an object and velocity is the speed of an object.
How can we make this make sense with Roller Coasters? 
WORK
Work for some students is a dirty word. Work is the way that a roller coaster gets its energy. Energy is given to the coaster train in a number of different ways. The conventional roller coasters have an electric motor attached to a chain (called the chain dog) that pulls the roller coaster to the top of the first rise. The motor has to do work to get the coaster train to the top of the hill.
Work is measure in Joules (J) and is represented by the following formula: Work = Forces x Distance
So work is the weight (Force) x the distance that it has to travel gains a force (usually gravity).
Why is Weight = Force? Your mass is not actually your weight even though it is measured in kg. Your weight is a measurement in Newtons (named after the brilliant bloke who discovered all this stuff). Your weight on the Earth is actually: Your mass x the Earth’s gravity. Gravity on the Earth acts at around 10 m2 per second. What the heck does that mean? It means if you jump out of a plane at 1000 feet you will increase you speed by 10 m2 per second. After 1 second you be travelling 10 meters per second. After another second you will be travelling 20 meters per second. After another second you will be travelling 40 meters per second, so on and so forth. If you hit the ground you’re going to hit it with some serious force. That’s right a force! You’re exerting a force on your chair right now. 
NOW BACK TO THE COASTER ...
Just to confuse you but the work required to get the coaster train to the top of the first rise will equal the train’s potential energy at the top. Let me prove it.
Example: A chain dog and electric motor has pushed a 100 kg coaster train to the top of the first rise at the height of 25 meters.
First let’s calculate the weight (Force) of the train.
Weight (Force) = Mass x Gravity W = 100 kg x 10 m/s2 Weight (Force) = 1000 Newtons Work =Force x distance W = 1000 N x 25 m Work = 25000 Joules Potential Energy = Mass x Gravity x Height PE = 100 kg x 10 m/s2 x 25 m Potential Energy = 25000 Joules Work = Potential Energy. 
What makes a ride on a Roller Coaster so exhilarating?
Is it the drops, the loops, twists or the air time? Well actually it’s all this stuff! You guessed it, it all comes back to PHYSICS. The truth is the exhilaration of a ride comes from the G force. G force is an increase or a decrease of someone’s or something’s weight.
An increase in positive G force will give a sensation of pressure on the body,
a negative G force will give the sense of weightlessness.
An increase in positive G force will give a sensation of pressure on the body,
a negative G force will give the sense of weightlessness.
 If you had a measurement of 2 g, you would weigh double your normal weight.
 If you had measurement of 0.5 g you would half your normal weight.
 To make the ride safe you must keep the G force below +4 g and a negative of 0.5 g.
 At 6 g the eyes start to bulge out of your skull and you can pass out and a 10 g you will meet your maker.
GForce, Acceleration and Centrifugal forces
On a roller coaster G force is created from acceleration and centrifugal forces.
To demonstrate centrifugal forces, fill up a bucket with water and spin it around really fast. Why doesn’t the water spill? Centrifugal force.
The Gforce is created in the train when the coaster changes direction or accelerates. This happens when the train goes around a bend, at the very bottom of a slope and at the very top of hills.
To demonstrate centrifugal forces, fill up a bucket with water and spin it around really fast. Why doesn’t the water spill? Centrifugal force.
The Gforce is created in the train when the coaster changes direction or accelerates. This happens when the train goes around a bend, at the very bottom of a slope and at the very top of hills.
Funderstanding PlaytimeExplore the death defying Funderstanding Roller Coaster!
This simulator is designed for people who want to design their own thrilling coaster using a cool simulation of 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!). If you accept this mission you must decide on a number of factors. You are responsible for setting the controls for the height of hill #1, hill #2, the size of the loop, the initial speed of the coaster, its mass, the gravity at work and the amount of friction on the track. This tool offers a great way to play a roller coaster game, and learn while doing it. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this simulation and it will encourage you to think about how simulations can help you improve the way you teach. If you need help, click on the ‘?‘ that relates to each slider. A second browser window will open to display the information. You can also get help on the topics listed below. 
Parts of the Roller Coaster
WEBSITE ACTIVITY
Use the internet to help you complete the following exercises.
