The Butterfly Feeling of Roller Coasters in Theme Parks
Disneyland, Six flags, and Great America are all places known for their creative, thrilling, and life-threatening rides. But, how does it work? Roller Coasters date back to the 18th century Russia, the early technology featured sled and wooden reinforcements of slides that were sitting on top of hills of snow. Roller Coasters use Gravity and Inertia, along with G-force and Centripetal Acceleration to give the body certain sensations as the coaster moves up, down, and around the track. This makes the rider feel the adrenaline and sometimes nausea in others. When going around a roller coaster’s vertical loop, the inertia that creates a breathtaking acceleration force also keeps passengers in their seats. As the car nears a loop, the direction of a passenger’s inertial velocity points straight forward at the same angle as the track leading up to the loop. As the car begins the loop, the track guides the car up, moving the passenger up. This shift in direction produces a feeling of extra gravity as the passenger is pushed down into the seat.
G-forces create the so-called ‘butterfly’ feeling felt as a car goes down a gradient. An expedition of 1 standard gravity (9.8 m/s2) is the usual force of Earth’s gravitational pull exerted on a person while standing still. The measurement of a person’s normal weight consolidates this gravitational acceleration. When a person feels weightless at the top of a loop or while traveling down a hill, they are in free fall. However, if the top of a hill is curved more narrowly than a parabola, riders will feel negative Gs and be lifted out of their seats, encountering the so-called ‘butterfly’ sensation. G-forces (gravitational forces) produce the so-called ‘butterfly’ feeling felt as a car goes down a gradient. An acceleration of 1 standard gravity (9.8 m/s2) is the natural force of Earth’s gravitational pull applied on a person while standing still. The measurement of a person’s normal weight incorporates this gravitational acceleration. When a person feels weightless at the top of a loop or while going down a hill, they are in free fall. Yet, if the top of a hill is curved more narrowly than a parabola, riders will feel negative Gs and be elevated out of their seats, experiencing the so-called ‘butterfly’ feeling. Centrifugal (center fleeing) force is not a true force, but preferably the result of an object’s inertia or resistance to change in direction, as the object moves in a circular path. The track’s curve limits the object from following the straight line it contrarily would, by applying a force on it towards the center of the circle, making it move in a curved path instead. This centripetal (center seeking) force actually points toward the center of the circle, but a roller coaster rider experiences the sensation of a centrifugal force, a pseudo force driving them near the outer edge of the car. As better technology-enhanced accessible, engineers began to use digital design tools to calculate the forces and pressures that the ride would subject passengers to. Computers are now used to design safe coasters with uniquely designed constraints and lightweight and durable elements. Today, tubular steel tracks and polyurethane wheels provide coasters to travel over 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), while even more towering, more durable, and more complicated roller coasters proceed to be created.
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