Glenbrook South Year-End Projects

The Physics of Roller Coasters

Project Information Sheet


Your project involves the analysis of the physics of a variety of amusement park rides, particularly roller coaster rides. You will identify and explore a number of variables which would affect the motion of passengers on such rides.


By the end of this project, you should be able to:


Your teacher will provide:


The student is responsible for:


Some KEYWORDS to use in a literature search:

Amusement parks

Amusement park rides


Walt Disney

Great America

Six flags

Roller coasters

Ferris wheels


Flume rides

Klothoid loop

Clothoid loop

Harry Traver

Arrow Dynamics, Inc.

Ray Ueberroth

American Coaster Enthusiasts

LaMarcus Thompson

Coney Island

Ray Toomer

Curtis Summers

Motion sickness

g's of acceleration

Internet Resources

Collaboration Ideas

IMC RESOURCES (placed on reserve):


General Information:

How the World Works

500 REN

Experimenting with Science

507.8 GAR

Foundations of Modern Physics

530 HOL

How Things Work

530 CRA

Physics Projects for young...

530 GOO

Adventures in Physics

530 HIG

A Source Book in Physics

530 M

The Story of Physics

530 MOT

The Project Physics course

530 RUT

Phenomenal Physics

530 SWA

The complete Guide to...

797.1 EVA


Detailed Information about your specific topic:

Inquire about the folders of articles available from your teacher.


Other IMC RESOURCES (not placed on reserve)

Science and physics encyclopedias and reference materials

CD-ROMs (particularly the "How Things Work" CD-ROMs)



The folders (mentioned above) will be a very useful (perhaps the most useful) resource for technical information. There are a couple of dynamite web sites on the topic of the physics of roller costers (see our Internet links page). The physics of amusement park rides is the physics of our first semester; thus, any physics textbook will discuss the necessary information for understanding amusement park rides (without specifically mentioning them). There are two videotapes available (see your teacher); the first 30 minutes of the NOVA videotape is very useful. There may be books available at other libraries.

Return to:

The Physics of Roller Coasters Project

Project Home Page

Coasters Project

Coasters Links

Basic Research Qs

Collabor'n Ideas

The Lab Report

Project Pitfalls

Scoring Rubrics

Project Timeline

Other GBS Resources

GBS Physics Page

Physics 163 Page

Physics Projects Home Page

The Refrigerator

The Physics Classroom

Multimedia Physics Studios

The GBS Physics staff invite you to send electronic mail:

Tom Henderson

Howard Jenewein

John Lewis

Neil Schmidgall

Dave Smith

Suzanne Webb

Brian Wegley

Questions and comments can be sent to Tom Henderson.

This page last updated on 3/3/98.