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    I’ve always loved roller coasters right from my childhood. When I was a kid and went to a lot of Theme Parks, the only rides I really wanted to go on were the roller coaster. There was always the sense of anticipation as I waited in the lines for the rides and just sited the coaster passing with a bullet speed. The queue seemed to go on and on, that never seemed to move fast enough. Trust me it’s worth waiting which I recognized when I got out from ride. Eventually after the long wait, came the moment when I could see the place where rollercoaster ride started – where people joyfully got into the cars and took off on their ride. And a few minutes later, the cars would pull back into the station, and the people would get off, with looks of intense exhilaration on their faces. And then the long waited moment arrived, it’s my turn. I got in the car of the roller coaster; the attendant strapped me in and lowered the bar over my lap. At that point, I could hardly contain myself. I was ready to go; In fact I was more than ready. After what seemed like an eternity, while the attendants helped everyone else into their cars, strapped them in, and gave final instructions, we were off. The real thrill had begun, with the car taking off, increasing speed, making unexpected turns, slowly plodding up steep inclines, and then suddenly dropping on the other side, with the car increasing speed. All this resulted in non-stop eathtaking and heart pounding exhilaration.

    This ride turned me to an everlasting Roller coaster fan and out of curiosity I learned few interesting stuff about roller coaster, which is obvious when you are really attracted to something in life. It’s just few minutes of thriller however there is lot of background work. Hat’s off to those who invented and re-invented the betterment of roller coaster. I just wanted to share few stuff about Roller coaster that I mad myself aware of and wanted to you share with you folks. Here we go.

    How does it Work?

    If you're tech savvy, there are few more exhilarating classrooms about roller coaster. To get it on Bull’s eye, Roller coasters are driven almost entirely by basic inertial, gravitational and centripetal forces, all manipulated in the service of a great ride. Amusement parks keep upping the ante, building faster and more complex roller coasters, but the fundamental principles at work remain the same. In this discussion, we'll examine the basic principles that keep coaster cars flying around on their tracks. We'll also look at the hardware that keeps everything running, as well as the other pieces that make the ride quite a lot of fun.

    History of Roller Coaster

    Roller coasters have a long, fascinating history. The direct ancestors of roller coasters were monumental ice slides; long, steep wooden¬ slides covered in ice, some as high as 70 feet that were popular in Russia in the 16th and 17th centuries. Riders shot down the slope in sleds made out of wood or blocks of ice, crash-landing in a sand pile. Coaster historians diverge on the exact evolution of these ice slides into actual rolling carts. The most widespread account is that a few entrepreneurial Frenchmen imported the ice slide idea to France. The warmer climate of France tended to melt the ice, so the French started building waxed slides instead, eventually adding wheels to the sleds. In 1817, the Russes a Belleville (Russian Mountains of Belleville) became the first roller coaster where the train was attached to the track (in this case, the train axle fit into a carved groove). The French continued to expand on this idea, coming up with more complex track layouts, with multiple cars and all sorts of twists and turns

    The first American roller coaster was the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, built in the mountains of Pennsylvania in the mid-1800s. The track, originally built to send coal to a railway, was reconfigured as a "scenic tour." For one dollar, tourists got a leisurely ride up to the top of the mountain followed by a wild, bumpy ride back down. Over the next 30 years, these scenic rides continued to thrive and were joined by wooden roller coasters similar to the ones we know today. These coasters were the main attraction at popular amusement parks throughout the United States, such as Kennywood Park in Pennsylvania and Coney Island in New York. By the 1920s, roller coasters were in full swing, with some 2,000 rides in operation around the country.

    Real thrill experience

    This simulator is designed for people who want to design their own thrilling coaster and educators who want to use a cool activity to simulate the application of physics by using an exciting interactive tool and access to a wonderful reference source.

    It is your mission to design the coaster so that you can achieve maximum thrills and chills without crashing or flying off the track (unless that’s how you like your coaster to work!).

    If you accept this mission you must decide on a number of factors. You are responsible for setting the controls for the height of hill #1, hill #2, and the size of the loop, the initial speed of the coaster, its mass, the gravity at work and the amount of friction on the track.

    This tool offers a great way to play a roller coaster game, and learn while doing it. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this simulation and it will encourage you to think about how simulations can help you improve the way you teach.

    Roller Coaster Components

    At first glance, a roller coaster is something like a passenger train. It consists of a series of connected cars that move on tracks. But unlike a passenger train, a roller coaster has no engine or power source of its own. For most of the ride, the train is moved by gravity and momentum. To build up this momentum, you need to get the train to the top of the first hill (the lift hill) or give it a powerful launch

    The traditional lifting mechanism is a long length of chain (or chains) running up the hill under the track. The chain is fastened in a loop, which is wound around a ¬gear at the top of the hill and another one at the bottom of the hill. The gear at the bottom of the hill is turned by a simple motor.

    This turns the chain loop so that it continually moves up the hill like a long conveyer belt. The coaster cars grip onto the chain with several chain dogs, sturdy hinged hooks. When the train rolls to the bottom of the hill, the dogs catches onto the chain links. Once the chain dog is hooked, the chain simply pulls the train to the top of the hill. At the summit, the chain dog is released and the train starts its descent down the hill.

    Catapult-Launch Lift: In some newer coaster designs, a catapult launch sets the train in motion. There are several sorts of catapult launches, but they all basically do the same thing. Instead of dragging the train up a hill to build up potential energy, these systems start the train off by building up a good amount of kinetic energy in a short amount of time.

    One popular catapult system is the linear-induction motor. A linear-induction motor uses electromagnets to build two magnetic fields -- one on the track and one on the bottom of the train -- that are attracted to each other. The motor moves the magnetic field on the track, pulling the train along behind it at a high rate of speed. The main advantages of this system are its speed, efficiency, durability, precision and controllability.

    Another popular system uses dozens of rotating wheels to launch the train up the lift hill. The wheels are arranged in two adjacent rows along the track. The wheels grip the bottom (or top) of the train between them, pushing the train forward.

    The Brakes: Like any train, a roller coaster needs a brake system so it can stop precisely at the end of the ride or in an emergency. In roller coasters, the brakes aren't built into the train itself; they're built into the track. This system is very simple. A series of clamps is positioned at the end of the track and at a few other braking points. A central computer operates a hydraulic system that closes these clamps when the train needs to stop. The clamps close in on vertical metal fins running under the train, and this friction gradually slows the train down.

    Roller Coaster Vs. Human Body

    Your body feels acceleration in a funny way. When a coaster car is speeding up, the actual force acting on you is the seat pushing your body forward. But, because of your body's inertia, you feel a force in front of you, pushing you into the seat. You always feel the push of acceleration coming from the opposite direction of the actual force accelerating you

    This force (for simplicity's sake, we'll call it the acceleration force) feels exactly the same as the force of gravity that pulls you toward the Earth. In fact, acceleration forces are measured in g-forces, where 1 g is equal to the force of acceleration due to gravity near the Earth's surface (9.8 m/s2, or 32 ft/s2).

    A roller coaster takes advantage of this similarity. It constantly changes its acceleration and its position to the ground, making the forces of gravity and acceleration interact in many interesting ways. When you plummet down a steep hill, gravity pulls you down while the acceleration force seems to be pulling you up. At a certain rate of acceleration, these opposite forces balance each other out, making you feel a sensation of weightlessness -- the same sensation a skydiver feels in free fall. If the coaster accelerates downward fast enough, the upward acceleration force exceeds the downward force of gravity, making you feel like you're being pulled upward. If you're accelerating up a steep hill, the acceleration force and gravity are pulling in roughly the same direction, making you feel much heavier than normal. If you were to sit on a scale during a roller coaster ride, you would see your "weight" change from point to point on the track.

    At the top of a hill in a conventional coaster, inertia may carry you up, while the coaster car has already started to follow the track down. Let go of the safety bar, and you'll actually lift up out of your seat for an instant. Coaster enthusiasts refer to this moment of free fall as "air time."

    Types of Roller Coasters

    There are two major types of roller coasters, distinguished mainly by their track structure.

    Wooden Roller Coaster: The tracks of wooden roller coasters are something like traditional railroad tracks. In most coasters, the car wheels have the same flanged design as the wheels of a train -- the inner part of the wheel has a wide lip that keeps the car from rolling off the side of the track. The car also has another set of wheels (or sometimes just a safety bar) that runs underneath the track. This keeps the cars from flying up into the air

    Wooden coaster tracks are braced by wooden cross ties and diagonal support beams. The entire track structure rests on an intricate lattice of wooden or steel beams, just like the beam framework that supports a house or skyscraper.

    They can even flip the train upside down (though this is rare in modern wooden coasters). But, because the track and support structure are so cumbersome, a wooden track is fairly inflexible. This makes it difficult to construct complex twists and turns. In wooden coasters, the exhilarating motion is mainly up and down.

    Steel Roller Coaster: The range of motion is greatly expanded in steel roller coasters. The world of roller coasters changed radically with the introduction of tubular steel tracks in the 1950s. As the name suggests, these tracks consist of a pair of long steel tubes. These tubes are supported by a sturdy, lightweight superstructure made out of slightly larger steel tubes or beams.

    Tubular steel coaster wheels are typically made from polyurethane or nylon. In addition to the traditional wheels that sit right on top of the steel track, the cars have wheels that run along the bottom of the tube and wheels that run along the sides. This design keeps the car securely anchored to the track, which is absolutely essential when the train runs through the coaster's twists and turns.

    The train cars in tubular steel coasters may rest on top of the track, like the wheels in a traditional wooden coaster, or they may attach to the track at the top of the car, like in a ski lift. In suspended coasters, the hanging trains swing from a pivoted joint, adding an additional side-to-side motion. In an inverted coaster, the hanging train is rigidly attached to the track, which gives the designer more precise control of how the cars move.

    A tubular steel track is prefabricated in large, curved segments. The steel manufacturing process allows for a smoothly curving track that tilts the coaster train in all directions. A wooden roller coaster rattles as it rolls over the joints that connect the pieces of the wooden track. In a tubular steel coaster, the track pieces are perfectly welded together, making for an incredibly smooth ride. As any coaster enthusiast will tell you, each sensation has its own distinctive charm.

    According to the Roller Coaster Data Base (RCDB), there were 2,088 coasters in operation around the world in 2007 -- 1,921 of them steel, 167 wooden. The RCDB identifies eight main coaster types:

    - Sit-down
    - Stand-up
    - Inverted
    - Suspended
    - Pipeline - The track is attached to the middle of the train, instead of above or below it.
    - Bobsled - Wheeled trains slide down a U-shaped tube instead of being fixed to a track.
    - Flying: Riders start out in a seated position but are rotated to face the ground as the ride starts, giving the feeling of flying.
    - Fourth Dimension - Two seats from each car are positioned on either side of the track. The seats spin or rotate on their own axis - either freely or in a controlled motion. In 2007, there were only four Fourth Dimension coasters in operation.

    Safety Tips for a First-Timer

    So, you're finally taking the plunge. For years, you've been playing it safe on the bumper cars and kiddy rides, but now you're ready to try the real deal - a coast¬er. Once you're in line, though, the bloodcurdling screams coming from the ride could make you think you're about to put your life at risk. You might want to turn around and head back to the carousel.

    In 2003, the Brain Injury Institute of America released a study that concluded, in part, that "The risk of brain injury from a roller coaster is not in the rides, but in the rider" [Source: Brain Injury Institute of America]. Of the six fatal injuries the study examined, all had been caused by previously undetected brain conditions.

    Basically, use common sense. If you have, or think you might have, any of the conditions posted on the warning signs (i.e., high blood pressure, heart disease or heart condition, pregnancy) don't get on the ride. If you've been consuming alcohol or if you don't meet the height and weight requirements, you are putting yourself at risk by riding a roller coaster.

    Once you've made it into the coaster car, you'll be secured by one of two basic restraint systems: a lap bar or some variation of an over-the-shoulder harness. Don't be alarmed if you're getting on a loop-the-loop coaster with a lap bar. As we saw earlier, inertia would keep you in your seat even with no restraints!

    The restraint system and everything else on a roller coaster is completely computer controlled. Programmable logic controllers, usually three of them, monitor every aspect of a coaster's operations. They regulate the ride's speed, ensure that trains never come too close to one another, and alert human operators to technical glitches or track obstructions. There is no possibility that say, the ride would leave the station with an unsecured safety belt or that an attendant would forget to apply the coaster's brake. All coasters are carefully inspected on a daily basis and completely worked over during the park's off-season

    Nevertheless, accidents do occur. Regulations vary from one authority to another. Thus in the USA, California requires amusement parks to report any ride-related accident that requires an emergency room visit, while Florida exempts parks whose parent companies employ more than 1000 people from having to report any accidents at all. Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts has introduced legislation that would give oversight of rides to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

    Ride accidents can be caused by riders or ride operators not following safety directions properly, but in extremely rare cases riders can be injured by mechanical failures.

    Computer Games inspired by Roller Coaster

    When I think of computer games related to Roller coaster there a quite a few, the most catchy one is Fantasy Roller Coaster. The premise of Fantasy Roller Coaster is simple. You’re the brakeman on a rather psychedelic roller coaster with two options: speed up or slow down. Your coaster is full of tykes along for the ride of their young lives. Too fast, though, and you’ll crash. Too slow and you won’t score as many points.

    That’s it. The game rewards you by adding or removing cars between stages. If you score well on one of the four levels you’ll add a new car to your coaster. Score especially well and you get two additional cars. Crash early and score poorly and you’ll have one taken away. The result is a feedback cycle–you need to do well on early stages to get more cars to do score more to get more cars, etc.

    Quality Control

    The design and construction of roller coasters are covered by numerous governmental safety regulations. The materials used must meet certain strength requirements, and the actual construction is subject to periodic inspection. Every day, the coaster must be thoroughly inspected before it goes into operation. Before the ride is open to the public, the cars are filled with weighted sandbags and sent through several circuits to ensure everything is operating properly. Government safety inspector(s) conduct a final review before they give approval to operate, once approver it’s opened to public. The current trend to higher, longer, and faster coasters will probably continue for the near future. This is especially true now that roller coasters have become popular in Europe, Asia, and many other foreign countries. In the meantime, coaster designers will be looking for new ways to give riders a physical and visual thrill Roller Coasters are one of the greatest draws for amusement parks in the world today. It's not unheard of for people to wait in line for 3 or 4 hours just to ride one coaster. However, these thrill...