• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Theme Park visit report: The physics of roller coasters.

Extracts from this document...


Theme Park Visit Report

On the 11th October 2007, we visited Drayton Manor theme park. We set out to learn more about the physics involved in theme parks. Although there are many aspects of physics present in a theme park I have concentrated my effort on just two aspects in this report. The two aspects I have chosen are power and efficiency.

Before I start calculating power and efficiency I have decided to explain the basic principles of a roller coaster as it helps when explaining the usefulness of knowing power and efficiency how they can be calculated and the equations to calculate them.

Physics of the roller coaster.

The purpose of a roller coasters initial ascent is to build up gravitational potential energy(fig.1). Once you pass over the crest of the initial ascent the built up gravitational potential energy of the cart is transferred to kinetic energy as you descend for the first time(fig.2).


A force of 9.

...read more.


To work out energy of a roller coaster for the initial climb we can find the potential energy its gained.

Gravitational potential energy = Mass*Gravitational field strength

                                                                *Vertical height


So Power = M*G*H


How to calculate efficiency

‘Energy conversion efficiency is the ratio between the useful output of an energy conversion machine and the input.’

We are able to find the efficiency of any part of the track although is complex, so to simplify the problem we shall calculated the efficiency of the entire track.

Efficiency = (Useful energy/Total energy)*100

Useful energy

E = (Ke/GPE)*100

Energy out is kinetic and energy in is GPE but GPE equals Ke so if we make energy in and out Ke then we can write the equation as:

E = (V/U)*100                        U= Velocity in

                                        V= Velocity out

To work out V:

                        V= Δs/Δt

Calculating power and efficiency

Ride name: G-Force

Data known:        m        =        1350Kg

        t        =        6.49s

        g        =        9.81

        U        =        20.25ms-¹

        U Δ

...read more.


>Δs/Δt  V=VΔs/VΔt  V= 8/1.74

V= 4.60ms-¹

Finding Ef

                Ef=(V/U)*100  Ef= (4.60/20.25)*100

Ef= 22.72%

Ride name: Apocalypse

Data known:        m        =        500Kg

        g        =        9.81

        h        =        54m

        t        =        15.12s

        V Δs        =        51m

VΔt        =        2.72s

Data needed:        GPE=        ?

        P=        ?

        U        =        ?

        V        =        ?

        Ef=        ?

Finding GPE

                GPE=mgh  GPE = 500*9.81*54

GPE= 264870j

Finding P

                P=E/t  P=GPE/t  P= 264870/15.12

P= 17517.86w

Finding U

                mgh=0.5mv²  v=(2gh)

                v=(2*9.81*54)  v= 32.55ms-²

Finding V

                V=Δs/Δt  V=VΔs/VΔt  V= 51/2.72

V= 18.75ms-¹

Finding Ef

                Ef=(V/U)*100  Ef= (18.75/32.55)*100

Ef= 57.60%


Physics of the roller coaster:



Fig.3 - sourced form:


Gravitational potential energy:

Quote on gravitational potential energy- sourced from:



Quote on energy conversion efficiency - sourced from:


Kinetic energy:

Quote on kinetic energy - sourced from:


...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Mechanics & Radioactivity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Mechanics & Radioactivity essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    AS OCR B Advancing Physics Coursework - Making Sense of Data

    4 star(s)

    The minimum and maximum time´┐Ż values were calculated by dividing the distance by the maximum and minimum average velocities of the whole fall respectively. As this error range is associated with time, the variable along the x-axis, a line of best fit through each of the maximum and minimum ranges was drawn to show the difference in gradients as before.

  2. Peer reviewed

    The Physics of Windsurfing

    4 star(s)

    This is referred to as over-sheeting. DRAG Drag on the sail is caused by the wind flowing over it. This force acts in the same direction as the apparent wind. Both lift and drag are proportional to the square of the wind speed. Example: a wind speed of 10 knots will give a lift and drag of 100.

  1. The physics involved with a rollercoaster.

    Since the PE depends on height and the KE depends on velocity, so the cars has low speed at top of the hill and high speed at bottom of the loop. The acceleration peaks when all the cars are headed downward.

  2. Investigating the factors affecting tensile strength of human hair.

    Strain = Extension (mm) / Original Length (mm) E.g. 32 / 100 = Strain Strain = 0.32 The tables on pages 14 to 36 show how I calculated my values to do the statistical test. Discussion Melanin molecules are proteins, which are produced at the root of each hair.

  1. Measure the earth's gravitational field strength.

    = c. When the results are put into a graph , I can find g by finding the gradient of the line on the graph as shown in Diagram 3. Definitions Gravity Force , Fgrav The force of gravity is the force at which the earth, moon, or other massively large object attracts another object towards itself.

  2. OCR B Advancing Physics Physics Practical Investigation Coursework Investigating Simple Harmonic Oscillations

    The easiest way of calculating the total energy is when the kinetic energy is zero and all the energy is stored as potential energy in the stretched spring. This allows the use of the previously mentioned equation: E=1/2 kx2 (x being the amplitude of oscillation)

  1. The study of physics has had a large impact on the development of road ...

    Crumple zones are built using the integration of steel and fiberglass in the front and rear end assemblies of the automobile. Rigid structures between crumple zones protect the passenger compartment. In a collision, the crumple zones deform to slow the actual impact.

  2. Multi-bladed Pumps. Does the number of propellor blades affect the efficiency of a ...

    The longer journey over the curved plane causes a drop in pressure, which translated to lift in planes, and thrust in propellers. According to all the textbooks, the optimum number of blades, the blade angle, the speed of rotation and the size of propeller all contribute to the efficiency.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work