How do roller coaster trains work? | DENENA | POINTS

Roller coaster injury lawyers note that although roller coasters designers compete to design the most complex and alluring twists, turns, drops, inversions, and high-speed thrills, the essential principles that make a roller coaster work are surprisingly simple. Even the most complex coasters run almost entirely because of basic gravitational, inertial, and centripetal forces. Good coaster designers manipulate these forces to create a great ride while also taking careful account of the stresses that the human body can endure.

A train is launched up an incline or pulled by a chain or other means. As it goes up the incline, it builds potential energy that translates into kinetic energy as the roller coaster train tips over the top of the incline into the down slope. A well-designed coaster builds up enough energy to take it through numerous successive hills and on to the end of the run. In coasters that run entirely on physics and don’t have any additional power added to the essential energy forces, successive hills will each be slightly smaller than the preceding ones because small amounts of energy will be lost to friction as the train travels over the track.

Although coasters can build up astonishing velocities, you don’t feel that velocity itself, any more than you feel the vast speed of the Earth as it moves through space. The roller coaster designers build in twists, turns, drops, and inclines to provide sudden changes in velocity that you feel as acceleration or heavy deceleration. Your inertia tends to push you down in the opposite direction of the coaster’s travel. You might feel this as heaviness or weight at certain points in the ride. For instance, the moments when you might feel most comfortably held down in your seat might be the same moments when you are traveling fast, but upside down, on a roller coaster loop. If your acceleration and inertia coincide, you might feel a sensation of weightlessness for a brief moment.

The immense forces at work could damage the fragile human body. Designers endeavor to create built in areas to decelerate a ride and lower g-forces to levels the body can safely withstand. Medical professionals have indicated that nonetheless, some people can be subject to brain trauma injuries or cardiac injury from the forces of a roller coaster ride.

If you’ve been injured on a roller coaster, feel free to contact us for a confidential legal consultation, at no charge, to discuss your accident. The experienced roller coaster injury lawyers at Denena & Points are among the very few lawyers in the nation with actual, practical experience handling roller coaster injury and wrongful death claims. Let us put our experience to work for your relief. Call today.