

Math and Roller Coasters
Name: Britany
Status: student
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A
Question:
What does math have to do with roller coasters? I'm
doing a math project and our assignment was to choose a subject
that was associated with math and i chose roller coasters.
Replies:
Britany
Math is used in roller coasters for the design of the machine,
construction, maintenance, and eventually dismantling.
In the design, math is used to calculate energy, momentum, motion,
forces, electrical needs, safety, flow of crowds, physiological
response measurements, forces, and geometry of the coaster (to name
just a few). In the construction, calculation of cost, size and fit
of parts, surveying, order of construction, shipping, preparation of
site, types and amounts of materials, and measuring that
specifications are met are but a few of the uses of mathematics. In
maintenance, math is used in passive and dynamic testing of the
structure, motors, and cars. Sonography, xrays; statistical records
of corrections, passenger load, incidents, analysis of ridership,
confirming that the entire structure and operation remains within
design specifications, employee costs, etc. are but a few of the many
areas that math is used for maintenance. At the end of the roller
coasters life, methods of dismantling, hauling, sizes, viaduct
clearance, costs, etc. need to be all calculated. Many people only
think of the engineering as the only place that mathematics is used
in roller coasters, but there is a safety and business side to the
operation that many people forget to consider. There are more
mathematical applications than this, but for a quick start, this
should help direct your research.
Nathan A. Unterman
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Update: June 2012

