Steel vs Wood Roller Coasters
Name: Claire n.
What are the visual and structual differences between
steel and wood designs for roller coasters? What thrill and design
elements become possible with steel roller coaster and which ones are
lost when building with steel vs. wood?
To find the structural differences, I would recommend the following book:
Scott Rutherford _The American Roller Coaster_ by MBI Publishing
Company. It was published in 2000, and you want to read Chapter 3. There
are additional books and articles, but this one has the best capsule (24
page) summary with pictures.
Steel allows looping design elements that wood does not. Wood maintains
many sub accelerations on sway between bents that steel does not.
There are also differences on cost and maintenance. The original cost of a
steel may be more than wood, but the maintenance might be less. Over the
long haul, the total costs are similar.
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Update: June 2012