Principles of Making Sure the Roller Coaster

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Physics, what is physics you may ask. Well, physics is a natural science that involves motion and time and has studies related to energy and force. Most would say physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines. Some of the energies we use is gravitational energy, potential energy, and kinetic energy. There is a lot of energy and work used in a lot of activities we do. A few activities would be going down a slide or walking up the stairs. The one activity that I tested that uses potential, kinetic, and gravitational energy was a roller coaster.

Roller coasters have a lot of principles that you need to follow, but it also has a lot of decisions to come with it that we need to keep in mind for a successful roller coaster. Some principles of making sure the roller coaster will successfully work is you need to have gravity and inertia working on your coaster. Gravity and inertia are needed for the coaster to go up, down, to the side, and all around. Centripetal force is also an important force used when you use a funnel or a loop, but only used on those two elements of the roller coaster. Our roller coaster had a very hard process, but turned out to be a fun roller coaster to be able to test and work with. 

This roller coaster has several different tracks being used. We’ve used loops, a jump, a half pipe, many columns and beams, curves, and a funnel. The decision making progress for the rollercoaster was very easy in the beginning, but when trying to make the roller coaster last longer was a struggle to incorporate with the space left. Decision between John and I were pretty simple because as long as I fit in its area and worked it was a good part to add to the coaster.

When the coaster is at start and end the marble has only gravitational potential energy. When the marble is going around the loop the marble is using some centripetal force as well as gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy. The funnels are using the same as the curves/turns, GPE and kinetic, but the funnels use more centripetal force force when it follows the outside and comes toward the middle spiraling downward. When the marble moves in a circle, which is really what a roller coaster does when it travels through a loop or in our case a funnel and a loop, the moving object is forced inward toward the marble which can be called, the center of rotation. It's this push toward the center, the centripetal force, that keeps an object moving along a curved path. 

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The energy is being transferred through the different form from gravitational potential energy, to regular potential energy, to kinetic, maybe to all, or two of them. The momentum of the ball changes a lot when I create different parts of the roller coaster. When there are turns/curves it can go either faster or slower depending on the angle. On the loops it goes fast for the most part because the whole thing is pretty much closed all the way around. Really the momentum only changes when the track is steeper or is on a jump, or a curve/turn.

With every roller coaster comes measurements that you need to be able to follow and meet or come close to meeting. For my roller coaster I will be measuring the height, the length, and the width. For the height I got 59.69 cm, for the length I got 74.93, and finally for the width I got 29.21. The height, length, and width measurements that I needed to follow were told to be 75 cm for the length, 30 cm for the width, and 60 cm for the height. My measurements were very close to being exact and possibly exceeded the measurement standards, but lucky we just got under the amounts possibly. 

At the end of the roller coaster there is no kinetic energy because it has stopped. When the marble is going the average velocity is 0.0858 m/s. The average acceleration through the roller coaster would be 0.2413 m/s2 (the two is supposed to be the squared symbol). The acceleration while at the end of the roller coaster would be zero if you just left it there, but from start to finish it would be somewhere around 0.254 m/s2. At the top of the roller coaster the potential energy would be 4094.734 J. The mechanical energy inside of the loop is 9.6062 J. Energy conservation is the prevention of the wasteful use of energy, especially in order to ensure its continuing availability. 

Theoretical values and experimental values have variance because there can be close answers with rounding situations. The centripetal force and acceleration of the roller coaster on a loop would be 7.139 m/s2. The total amount of money that I would have spent on the roller coaster was $461,000. In my project, I used around 29 columns, 10 beams, one catch, one jump, one mega-wide turn, two funnels(one large and one small), 10 diagonal supports, a half-pipe, 10 straight tracks, 2 sharp turns, 2 wide turns, and 2 loops. These projects took a lot of material and possible money in order for a real of of these to be made.

For the project I felt it was an extremely hard project to do compared to the bridge, vut it was still fun to do and figure out, I really liked the cool obstacles and paths I could make. I also liked how our jump turned out because that works very well. What I didn’t like was the how long this project took, the amount of work I had to do on my own, and the fact that if you move something slightly your roller coaster has a chance of not working as well anymore. That part was the most frustrating when you can’t figure out how to put something together, like a loop. The loop was the biggest struggle, but I remember hearing in class, as long as you use the loop your fine, so I put it horizontally. 

I figure that if I’m going to put in loops might as well make it strategic and put it in there in a fun way. The success that I worked with was the jump, the curves/turns, and the funnels. If I were to do this again I would make sure I’m not left with all of the work, i would make a sturdier base, and I would definitely make a better design structure because it could work may better if it was moved and changed in a different way. What I learned and took away from this process was that you will always need to double-check your work/project to make sure it is the way you want it and how you want it to look and work. (Megan’s Reflection)

The project was ok and I did struggle a bit, but it worked out in the long run. I liked how the whole project came together and how easy it was. I didn’t like how the base just kept bending, but it still held up. I also didn't like how some things in the roller coaster didn’t work the first time we tried it. We had trouble with putting the pieces together and using the columns and beams for help, but tape always helped keep it up. The success I felt happened when the funnel worked and the jump worked. It took forever to get those to work so to get them to work was a weight lifted off my shoulder. What I would do differently would be to set it up in a different way and make the design/structure different. I learned that you can never use to much paper and tape. I also learned that you need to be careful with where you place your pieces because they could potentially end up failing in the long run.

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