Roller Coaster Hill Design
Date: Summer 2011
How are parabolas used when making roller coasters?
Parabolas are often the design of the hills of roller coasters. The horizontal velocity of the center of mass of the roller coaster determines the "width" of the parabola. If the path of the center of mass matches the parabolic structure of the roller coaster, the rider is in a controlled free fall and experiences "air time".
---Nathan A. Unterman
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Update: June 2012