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Name:  Jackie F.
Status:  student
Age:  16
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
How does height of the first hill impact heights of the other hill on a rollercoaster track?


Replies:
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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