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Applying Physics at Alton Towers

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Applying Physics at Alton Towers Section A The two aspects of physics that I observed while visiting Alton Towers were: Tensions in context to the Skyride together with stress and strain Acceleration due to free fall in context to the Oblivion In Alton Towers, tensions can be seen everywhere in cables and structures. I have decided to look closely at the Skyride which uses tensions of cables to create not only a ride that shows off parts of the park, but also as a transportation form that takes people from one part of the park to another. The Skyride was built to replace the original cable cars, which had a low capacity and only went to the Gardens and back. The new cable cars now allow a maximum of 12 people meaning that now the groups of people can now use the ride whereas before they would have walked or have taken several cars. Even though it is newer than the original, the Skyride still uses the same principals of physics with no new technologies involved. The Skyride can be described simply as a cable moving cars suspended underneath. The car itself may swing from side to side but it is actually the cable that is moving. ...read more.


It does this not by making the riders experience difficult helixes, twists and turns but by using the raw power of gravity to scare the rider into believing he is about to hit the ground. This however is only a psychological effect as the ride itself is extremely safe, this is due to the great knowledge of physics the makers used. The Oblivion could be said to be environmentally friendly a most of the power used to accelerate the cars comes from gravity. Section B In this section I will be concentrating on the principal physics of tension, stress and strain involved in the Skyride. Before building the Skyride, designers and engineers thought carefully about the forces which the cable would have to endure in order to put in a safety margin. In particular, tension, stress and strain were looked at. Tension occurs in cables when a pair of stretching forces is applied. A taut, horizontal wire, being pulled by equal forces will have the same amount of force throughout the wire. In the case of our cable however, which is tilted by about 10 degrees from the horizontal, the forces throughout the cable will not be equal. ...read more.


The minimum breaking load is 116 tonnes or 116 kN. If the average weight of one car is 2 kN then the percentage of this compared to the minimum breaking load is % = average weight of one car x 100 minimum breaking load = 2 x 100 116 = 1.73% This means that the cable has a very high safety margin. An additional 58 full cars could be put on one point without breaking. Following all this physics, I can compare the cable car cable with the cable used to distribute electricity. The electricity cable could be said to play a much more important role than that of the Skyride cable. They also have different properties. The electricity cable has to be able to handle high tensions and stresses so as to not break, like the Skyride cable. It doesn't however have to have a low elasticity. So an electricity cable can extend to a high degree as well as do its job, unlike the cable car cable. There are limitations to the cable car however, the speed at which it transports people can not be increased and the cable car needs to stop when the cars are swayed. On the other hand however the system behind the cable car is also implemented in ski lifts, and also in industry to transport coal from mines. Shafiq Jetha 03/05/07 Physics Coursework ...read more.

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