How to Make Theme Park Rides

By: Andrea Smith

Making a theme park ride involves a thorough grounding in physics. The roller coaster is a good place to start. Over the years coaster designers have constantly been searching for bigger thrills and have pushed the limits of the laws of physics sometimes.
All the potential energy necessary is available at the top of the first big hill. While a roller coaster is pulled by an electrical conveyor belt to the top of the first hill, the train does not have its own engine. After the pull to that first hill, the coaster is on its own, converting potential energy to kinetic energy.
Roller coasters have different kinds of wheels for different purposes. While steel coasters are taller and faster than wooden coasters, you don't get the chilling feeling of swaying from side to side like with wooden coasters.While wooden coasters don't loop, they do have much more in the way of swaying motion than steel coasters. There are wheels that guide the coaster on its tracks, and friction wheels minimize side to side movement. Another set of wheels is responsible for keeping the roller coaster on its tracks, even if it turns upside down. When the ride is over, compressed air brakes are used to stop the car.
Although most people are familiar with the log flume rides at theme parks, what they dont realize is that they were developed in the lumber industry to push logs down to a sawmill with flowing water. Conveyor belts are used to help the logs get to high points in the ride, and like coasters, the laws of converting potential energy to kinetic energy take over. The amusement park rides are basically more developed versions of the originals used by lumber industries: a specially designed river with emptied out "logs" for people to sit in.
Basically all the so-called thrill rides at theme parks are variations on the theme of building up potential energy by taking a ride to a higher elevation, then safely converting that potential energy to kinetic energy using the law of gravity. Ensuring safety with lap bars, harnesses, and the use of brakes are critical design features in theme park rides.

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Andrea Smith is a freelance writer and Theme Park enthusiast from the UK. She writes for Techy Zone about roller coasters, thrill rides and theme parks in the UK.

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