The Physics Of Roller Coasters

Better Essays
Ever since the first commercial roller coaster was built in the United States in 1884, roller coasters have been seen in amusement parks all around the world. These rides, seen in all shapes and sizes, are widely recognized for their thrills. At sudden twists and turns, riders experience large levels of excitement. But what makes a roller coaster so exciting? The answer is physics. In the process of designing roller coasters, engineers use concepts such as Newton’s three laws of motion to make loops, corkscrews, hills, and jumps possible. How these concepts are put to work can be seen in examples of roller coasters throughout history.
The first forms of the roller coaster were seen in St. Petersburg, Russia as early as the 1600s. Piles of ice were built about 70 feet high, and thrillseekers would slide down wooden, icy ramps built on these Russian “mountains”. Catherine the Great, whose reign of Russia lasted from 1762 to 1796, boosted this custom when she had wheels placed on her sleigh for summer use. Eventually, a French traveler introduced this Russian tradition to France. The French learned to build a track with a groove down the middle for use in a warmer climate than Russia. French thrillseekers would then fit a bench with wheels on the groove and proceed to coast down the track sideways.
The major reason roller coasters are known for their thrills is because of physics. Physics is the science of matter and energy and their interactions. In the early
Get Access