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Roller Coaster Physics

 
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:16 pm    Post subject: Roller Coaster Physics Reply with quote

I was poking around the library the other day, and I found a Discovery Channel school dvd called "Roller Coaster Physics". It's about 20 minutes long, but it explains alot about gravity, inertia, friction, and other stuff as they affect coasters. I knew most of it already, but they also discussed g-forces and their effect on riders. Apparently, the limit is 3.5 positive g's in the US. Is it different other places? Anyone else seen this dvd?
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admin
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Joined: 28 Jul 2007
Posts: 381

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my knowledge, anything over about 3.0 g's starts to cause motion sickness / blackouts in a certain percentage of the population. So coasters are generally limited to about 3.0 g's. Simply put, people don't like them when they're any more than that.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a split-second blackout on Silver Star at Europa Park in Germany. Shocked
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 93
Location: Flint, MI

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Higher forces also increase risk of heart attacks.

I haven't seen the DVD. But, I have watched a few shows about roller coasters on Discovery, History, and Travel channels. Alas, the loss of cable / satellite has kind of cut my viewing (PBS just doesn't have that many show).
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Thriller



Joined: 11 Oct 2007
Posts: 14
Location: the Netherlands

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, there are dozens, if not hundreds of coaster going up to 5 G, en the current record is 6-point-something. It's all a matter of duration, though. 5 G seems to be the standard maximum for many manufacturers...
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 93
Location: Flint, MI

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think if I rode one of those, I might not be getting off the ride. I'd be like the guy that had his heart attack on Everest, a new member of the blue man band.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could be wrong about this, but there's a difference between instantaneous G's and sustained G's. A fighter pilot can withstand a tremendous amount of instantaneous G's but only 5-7 sustained G's without blacking out.
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 93
Location: Flint, MI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, instantaneous forces usually doesn't do harm. But, it will still put a huge stress on the heart. What happens is that the increased gravity forces the blood to collect at the "lowest" part, typically the legs and feet. This deprives the brain of the blood it needs. So, the heart is told to pump harder. The sudden loss of pressure in the upper extremities can also loosen the cholesterol plates, causing a stroke.

Pilots black out because their hearts can't keep up with the demand for extended periods. The brain loses too much oxygen and starts to shut down. The flight suits they wear actually help them sustain more forces than a normal person. The suit is pressurized in the legs, preventing the blood from collecting down there.

Now, a normal middle aged, non exercise freak guy like me would just about die on some of the big rides. Mission Space just about took me out the last time on the intense simulator.
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Thriller



Joined: 11 Oct 2007
Posts: 14
Location: the Netherlands

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The heart can actually take quite a lot if we're talking about acceleration spikes. After all, blood has a weight, meaning inertia. Very short periods of acceleration do not affect the heart and blood system that much. Sitting down on a sofa quite fast is said to result in up to 7 G's, en people have been known to survive car accidents with a spike of dozens of G's
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