Roller Coaster Physics

Josh Welch

Roller coaster climbing hillHave you ever wondered what makes roller coasters work? 

Roller coasters in the past were pretty simple, they climbed a hill using a mechanical device such as a chain and wench and came to a stop using friction inducing skidbrakes. 

With their hydraulic launch systems and magnetic braking systems, todays roller coasters are not nearly as simple as their predecessors used to be. 

Computer control systems and our growing understanding of the laws of physics have also greatly contributed to the complexity of new roller coasters. 

Check out the SciShow video below to learn more about todays roller coasters and what makes them safely do their job day after day. 

Do you have a favorite roller coaster?  We'd like to hear about it in the comments!