Rollercoasters and Hills
Name: Jackie F.
How does height of the first hill impact heights of the
other hill on a rollercoaster track?
The first hill needs to be the highest. The gravitational potential energy
stored in the gravitational field surrounding the train is the maximum
amount of available energy for the system. From here on, the roller
coaster is exchanging gravitational potential energy with kinetic energy
and back again. One problem: friction. Some of the energy flows into
thermal energy and becomes unavailable for the motion of the coaster. This
means that successive hills must be lower.
---Nathan A. Unterman
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Update: June 2012