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Use the following terms correctly in describing the forces and elements of a roller coaster.

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4. Use the following terms correctly in describing the forces and elements of a roller coaster. (Underline the terms in your description)

        -Gravity                        -G-forces

        -Potential Energy                -Kinetic Energy

        -Centripetal Force                -Centrifugal Force

        -Acceleration                -Friction

How many people have been on a roller coaster before? You have, I have, almost everybody has! However, have you ever considered why your cart doesn’t fall off the track while you’re on that giant loop? And why do you sometimes feel like lead and other times a feather? Despite what you may think, it is not magic or any miracle. There are many different forces and elements that are involved in a roller coaster that explain why things are the way they are on these thrilling rides.

        One of the main elements in roller coasters is energy. There are actually two specific types of energy involved: potential and kinetic.

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kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion that depends on the mass and speed of the object. So in other words, the potential energy that was stored is released as kinetic energy, which increases with speed, and also takes you down the hill. Say there is another hill after the first. The kinetic energy would propel the cart up the hill, building up potential energy. Then the previous events would repeat themselves.

        So we’ve figured out what energies cause what in a roller coaster. However, in addition to energy, forces are a huge factor in roller coasters. One of the most important forces in a roller coaster is gravity, which is an attractive force that exists between all objects that have mass, such as roller coasters. Earth exerts a gravitational force that causes objects to be pulled towards the ground. Therefore, gravity applies a constant downward force on a roller coaster cart.

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Centripetal force is a center-seeking force that makes an object follow a curved path towards the center of the path. On a roller coaster, it is exerted by the track, pushing you towards the center. Centrifugal force is a center-fleeing force. It is exerted by the cart and in other words could be called momentum.

        The final force involved in a roller coaster is friction, a contact force that opposes the movement between two surfaces in contact. In this case, the two surfaces are the roller coaster track and the cart. It is what causes the roller coaster to lose potential energy and slow down. Eventually, when the potential energy stored is very low, the cart is either sent up a hill to gain more potential energy, or the ride comes to an end.

        Like our roller coaster, this report is coming to an end. Hopefully, you’ve learned something or gotten a better understanding of this subject.

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