Roller Coasters Research

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The rollercoaster car gains GPE as it travels to the top. Once over the top, the car gains speed as GPE is transferred to KE. As it travels to the top of another loop, KE is transferred to GPE. Note that not all the energy is transferred to or from GPE – some is transferred to the surroundings as heat and sound. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/add_ocr_gateway/forces/themeridesrev2.shtml (6/10) At the top of the hill, the cars possess a large quantity of potential energy. Potential energy - the energy of vertical position - is dependent upon the mass of the object and the height of the object. The car's large quantity of potential energy is due to the fact that they are elevated to a large height above the ground. As the cars descend the first drop they lose much of this potential energy in accord with their loss of height. The cars subsequently gain kinetic energy. Kinetic energy - the energy of motion - is dependent upon the mass of the object and the speed of the object. The train of coaster cars speeds up as they lose height. Thus, their original potential energy (due to their large height) is transformed into kinetic energy (revealed by their high speeds). As the ride continues, the train of cars are continuously losing and gaining height. Each gain in height corresponds to the loss of speed as kinetic energy (due to speed) is transformed into potential energy (due to height). Each loss in height corresponds to a gain of speed as potential energy (due to height) is transformed into kinetic energy (due to speed) http://www.physicsclassroom.com/mmedia/energy/ce.cfm (7/10)

A roller coaster moves in the same way a marble would roll down a slanted surface. The marble rolls because it has Gravitational Potential Energy. Potential Energy is gathered by an object as it moves upwards, or away from, the earth. With a roller coaster, this is acheived by pulling the train up a lift hill to the coaster's highest point. As it moves higher, it has more...
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