Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Last summer I went to the Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio and was particularly interested in the physics behind one of the rides called the twister. This roller coaster consists of two identical towers that spiral upward parallel to each other. The ride starts when the cart is shot up one side. From here the cart rolls back down and with its own energy shoots back up the other side. The ride has been calculated to reach close to the top of the tower, but not fall off. This calculation was completed by using the equation ΔKE = −ΔPE +WNC. By calculating the correct speed of the cart upon takeoff as well as factoring in the non conservative forces such as friction and air resistance, the makers of this ride are able to determine how high the cart will go. Since no new outside forces act on the cart after its initial launch, the cart will only reach a slightly smaller height on the other tower, therefore ensuring the safety of the riders.

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