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Name: Marie Alyse
Status: Student
Grade: 9-12
Location: CT
Country: United States
Date: May 2007


Question:
How can you relate geometry to a roller coaster?



Replies:
There are many ways to relate geometry to roller coasters. The train is moving at some initial velocity at the top of the lift hill, due to the lift chain. The profile of the first hill is often parabolic to match the projectile motion of the train. Valleys are often parts of circles, as are turns. Vertical loops are clothoid in shape, usually approximated by sections of hyperbolas, parabolas, and circles.

The structure itself uses geometry for proper bracing, structural load, and in some cases, aesthetic design.

Nathan A. Unterman



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