Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Roller Coaster Project

Roller Coaster Physics Online Project

Objective: to apply the concepts of forces, Newton's laws, Work, Power and Conservation of Energy and Momentum to the design and analysis of Roller Coasters.

1. Go to http://library.thinkquest.org/2745/data/ke.htm and read about the energy conversion in a roller coaster. Take notes so that you can better design your roller coaster.

2. Go to http://www.learner.org/interactives/parkphysics/coaster.html and read the first page. Then click on "How did coasters come to be? Read more about their history" and read about roller coaster history. Then click on "Back to Roller Coaster" which will bring you back to the start. Click on "Design a Roller Coaster" and follow the instructions. Make sure you click on the "safety inspection" after you are done with the design. Try out more than one design also. Take notes on what you learn and do.

Using the height of each hill you select, calculate the PE at the top of the hill. Use this to calculate the KE and Velocity at the bottom of the hill. Assume a mass of 1000kg for the roller coaster car and occupants.

3. Go to http://www.funderstanding.com/coaster and use the simulation to try out different roller coaster designs. Change the height of the initial hill, loop, and second hill. Start a new track and design your own layout. Watch what happens depending on what you do with the design.

Using the velocity shown on the simulation, calculate the KE of the car at the bottom of track. The mass slider is 100 - 1000 kg. Then, calculate the height of the first hill using the conservation of energy.

Change the initial hill height, mass, and loops and second hill height and repeat analysis. Write down your observations of what happened as you changed each variable. Remember to only change one variable at a time.

All notes and calculations will be turned in for a grade. I will also be checking to see how your designs work as you are working.

If you have time:

4. Go to http://kids.discovery.com/games/build-play/build-a-coaster and try out the roller coaster game. See how well you do.