May 23, 2017

How Does a Roller Coaster Work?

Get on a roller coaster to meet Newton's laws.

Published Feb 24, 2008
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Roller Coaster

Ever notice that a roller coaster does not have an engine? Yet it still moves at such a high speed that it makes your heart beat faster and causes you to scream at the top of your lungs. So how does it move so fast? Well, it works due to the principle that was first explained by the great scientist Isaac Newton. He found that a moving body will keep on moving until it is stopped by someone or something. The movement of the roller coaster comes from the first push given to its cubbies. This push gives it enough energy (also known as kinetic energy) to move around the loops and holes. The someone or something that puts this screaming adventure to a stop is nothing more than our good old air pressure. Which, in this case, acts like a braking force and brings the roller coaster to a halt.

In ancient times (like twenty years back) this initial shove was given by human hands. In the modern world (like, since we were born) this push is given by machines, which are handled by humans!

By now, we are sure that you have this information firmly in your head. Just make sure that the next time you are riding in a roller-coaster and the roller-coaster turns totally upside down, this piece of knowledge doesn’t fall out of your head through one of your two ears. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


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