Roller Coaster Physics

A Roller Coaster is a small gravity railroad used in amusement parks.

Gravity and Potential Energy :

As the train is being pulled to the top it is storing potential energy.
Gravity is the driving force of a roller coaster.
When the coaster is let go from the top of the lift hill, gravity pulls it down.
Did You know the roller coasters have no engine?
It is pulled to the top of the first hill and then it's on its own. The roller coaster relies on the gravity and velocity
The conversion from potential to kinetic energy is what drives the roller coaster.roller.gifPhysics Of Roller Coasters

Velocity and Kinetic Energy:

Velocity is the rapidity of motion and speed.
Kinetic Energy is the energy of motion. Because the mass stays constant, if the velocity is increased, the kinetic energy must increase. This means that the kinetic energy for the roller coaster system is greatest at the bottom of the highest hill on the track: the bottom of the lift hill. When the coaster begins to climb the next slope on the track, the train starts to slow down, thereby decreasing its kinetic energy.

Two Types of Roller Coaster:

Wooden Roller Coaster: May be steeper and sharper turns.They are made by all wood.Wooden roller coasters are more likely to collapse after several years then a steeel roller coaster. Steel Coaster: Allows loops and more speed.They are made all by pure metal.The steel roller coaster last much longer than the wooden ones.

Roller Coaster History:

The original roller coaster or " scream machines" were huge wooden sleds going down ice covered mountains! myster19b.jpg
The oldest roller coasters came from from the so called from Russian Mountains by Saint Petersburg . First roller coasters were built around 17th century.There is some arguement as to who started the roller coaster . Some researchers say the first real roller coaster was built by orders of James the 3rd,but no one is for sure. Roller Coaster wikipediaHistory Others believe that the first roller coasters were built by the French.

Roller Coaster Facts:

  • The fastest roller coasters go 80 miles per hour.
  • The fastest looping roller caster is the viper.It goes 70 miles per hour.
  • The two tallest roller coasters are 225 feet tall.
  • The tallest wooden roller coaster is the Hercules, which is 175 feet tall.
  • The weird things found under the roller coasters are: cell phones, glasses, wallets ,fake legs, fake teeth,keys, and Facts


Key components are gravity, chain lift, chain dog, wheels, kinetic energy,potential energy, lift hill,and a brake system.
Brakes are needed to stop at the end of a ride or just incase of an emergency.roller-coaster-24.jpg
A chain lift keeps the coaster moving fast through the loops on the track.
A chain dog keeps the coaster from retreating backwards.
Wheels are used at the beginning of the track to help boost the coaster into full gear!
Coaster Dictionary


Roller Coasters aren't always completely safe.Injuries from roller coasters include: deadly falls,strokes, brain injuries,emotional injuries, and more.
The odds are slim though. Six flags took a study in 2001 and found out of 319 million people you have a one in one-and-a-half- billion chance of being fatally hurt.
Many brain injuries have occured due to the jerking of the head on sharp turns. In passed history the restraintshave came loose. Some have been injured and even killed.Recents accidents have caused people to sue for millions.


Thrill is the affect of emotion and excitement. People ride roller coasters for the thrill.Thrill rides can spin, loop, drop, and toss you side to side. People get the most thrill when they are upside down.The tingling in their stomach is why they ride.Going with friends and whatching them scream many people say is halarious.The thrill is also coming from the illusion that you are going to hit something. It is very scary. The thrill is why so many people go to amusement parks.