The Example Of Physics: The Physics Of Roller Coasters

2610 Words 11 Pages
Milaya Ruffin
Mr. Simmons
October 14, 2016
Many people have gone on roller coasters, but have they really thought about how they work? All of the tosses and turns. How does it stay on the track? How does it slow down? How does it speed up? Slow and clanking, the string of cars is pulled up to the highest point of a roller coaster. One by one, the cars start going downhill on the other side, until gravity kicks into action and the full weight of the train is going down into curves, twists, and turns. A roller coaster is a great example of gravitational potential energy changing to kinetic energy.
Potential energy can come in many forms. For example, chemical energy can be stored and later converted into heat or electricity.
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Friction plays a major role in actual roller coaster physics. Once cars are lifted to the top of the hill, gravity takes over, and kinetic energy is transferred throughout the remainder of the ride. Mechanical energy is not consistent. Mechanical energy is the sum of potential energy and kinetic energy. Mechanical energy can either be potential or kinetic.
The four types of friction are static, sliding, rolling, and fluid. The normal force is one component of the contact force between two objects. For example, a roller coaster and its track are normal forces. Another major component is frictional force. It is in a direction parallel to the plane of the interface between objects. Friction always opposes any relative motion between more than surface.
Static friction is the friction that exists between a stationary object and the surface on which it is resting. Static frictional forces from the non symmetrical areas of two surfaces will increase to prevent any relative motion up, until some limit where motion occurs. An example of static friction is if there is a person, a box, and carpet floor. When the person pushes the box across the floor, little tiny ridges in the ground latch onto the box. This causes the box to slow down and it makes it harder to push. A counterexample, or an opposite example, is if someone was pushing a box across an ice skating rink. There would be a lot less friction because the ice can make you slip

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