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.

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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. hysicsclassroom. 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 potential to fall to earth, increasing its Kinetic Energy. Kinetic Energy is gathered as an object falls.

There’s a transfer of Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy as the roller coaster train leaves the top of the lift hill and enters the first drop. The more G. P. E the train has (the higher the lift hill is), then the more K. E. it will have at the bottom of the drop. This Kinetic Energy at the bottom of the drop will determine how long the ride can last for, and what elements (such as inversions or hills) the train can go through. http://www. coasterforce. com/coasters/technical-info/physics-of-a-coaster (5/10)

The hill has to be low enough that the momentum of the car from the previous drop carries it up and over the hill. This is why the hills are usually lower toward the end of the ride: because the car has lost momentum due to friction and air resistance. http://getrevising. co. uk/forums/topics/how_the_height_of_the_hill_are_designed_to_allow_an_empty_car_to_reach_the_end_of_the_ride (7/10) At the top of the first lift hill (a), there is maximum potential energy because the train is as high as it gets.

As the train starts down the hill, this potential energy is converted into kinetic energy — the train speeds up. At the bottom of the hill (b), there is maximum kinetic energy and little potential energy. The kinetic energy propels the train up the second hill (c), building up the potential-energy level. As the train enters the loop-the-loop (d), it has a lot of kinetic energy and not much potential energy. The potential-energy level builds as the train speeds to the top of the loop (e), but it is soon converted back to kinetic energy as the train leaves the loop. ttp://science. howstuffworks. com/engineering/structural/roller-coaster3. htm (9/10) Most roller coasters work by lifting the train of cars up a tall hill using a metal cog or chain mechanism which isn’t very fast. It gets the cars up to the top, and the speed of the cars is very small during the lifting process and at the top. The total energy of the cars at the top then is just the gravitational potential energy, which is proportional to the mass of the cars and the height of the hill. The constant of proportionality is the local gravitational acceleration g, which is 9. 1 meters per second per second. This potential energy can be exchanged for kinetic energy at the bottom of the hill. The kinetic energy can be traded again for gravitational potential energy when climbing the next hill. The total energy never goes up, only down, due to frictional losses, and so the maximum hill the cars can climb gets smaller and smaller. Putting a bigger hill later on will only make the roller coaster cars roll back down the way it came. http://van. physics. illinois. edu/qa/listing. php? id=31 (8/10)

On a traditional roller coaster there is no engine or any other device either pulling or propelling the coaster around the track. Instead, roller coasters use simple physics to create thrilling loops, drops, and turns. Potential energy is equal to mass times gravity times height, and describes that amount of energy an object would have if it could be converted to kinetic. Roller coasters operate on the principle of potential energy. To begin the ride, the coaster climbs a hill, gaining potential energy. The maximum energy the coaster can have throughout the ride is determined by its initial height.

The height of the first hill must be higher than any later hill or loop in order to ensure that it will have enough energy to continue its forward motion. Whenever the coaster goes up another hill after the initial one, it is once again gaining potential energy (although less that initially) which will be converted to kinetic energy after it starts to roll downhill. A. After climbing the initial hill, the coaster has reached its maximum potential energy. B. As the coaster rolls down the first hill the potential energy it had at the top is changed into kinetic energy. C.

Once the coaster reaches this point it has changed completely to kinetic energy, but as it starts climbing the next hill the coaster once again gains potential energy. D. At the top of the second hill the coaster once again has potential energy, but this time it is less potential energy than the first hill because this hill is not as high. E. Again, as the coaster rolls down this second hill the potential energy is changed into kinetic energy. http://www. unc. edu/~ncspence/physics101/Energy%20Transfer. htm (9/10) How the heights of the hills are designed to allow an empty car to reach the