Apparent weight of passengers in a roller coaster

In summary, at the bottom of the dip in a roller coaster with a radius of curvature of 20.0 m, passengers experience an apparent weight that is 50% heavier than their true weight. This is due to the extra push upwards from the centripetal force acting on them. By analyzing the forces and applying Newton's 2nd law, the speed at the bottom of the dip can be found. It is important to note that centripetal force is not a force in itself, but rather the name for the net force on an object experiencing centripetal acceleration.
  • #1
NIZBIT
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The passengers in a roller coaster car feel 50% heavier than their true weight as the car goes through a dip with a 20.0 m radius of curvature.
What is the car's speed at the bottom of the dip?I'm stuck on this problem. I understand that at the bottom they feel 1.5 times heavier. Other than that I really don't know.
 
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  • #2
At the bottom of the curve their apparent weight is .5 normal, ie it has increased by 0.5.

That's because there's an extra push upwards ion them, which is the "centripetal force".

You know the expression for centripetal force - set this equal to 0.5weight,

Rearrange to find v
 
  • #3
NIZBIT said:
I'm stuck on this problem. I understand that at the bottom they feel 1.5 times heavier. Other than that I really don't know.
The apparent weight, what they feel, is the force exerted on them by the seat of the coaster--also called the normal force. That's what is 1.5 times their real weight.

Analyze all the forces acting on the passengers and apply Newton's 2nd law. What kind of acceleration are they experiencing? (And how does that relate to their speed?)

Note: Centripetal force is not a force! It is the name for the net force on an object undergoing centripetal acceleration. If you were to list the forces acting on the passengers, "centripetal force" better not be on that list. :wink:
 

Related to Apparent weight of passengers in a roller coaster

1. What is the apparent weight of passengers in a roller coaster?

The apparent weight of passengers in a roller coaster is the perceived weight experienced by a person during the ride. It is affected by the acceleration and forces acting on the body.

2. Why does the apparent weight of passengers change during a roller coaster ride?

The apparent weight of passengers changes during a roller coaster ride because of the changes in acceleration and forces acting on the body. When the roller coaster goes up or down a hill, the acceleration changes and so does the apparent weight.

3. How does the design of a roller coaster affect the apparent weight of passengers?

The design of a roller coaster can affect the apparent weight of passengers by determining the amount and direction of forces acting on the body during the ride. A more intense or extreme design can result in a greater change in apparent weight.

4. Is the apparent weight of passengers the same for everyone on a roller coaster?

No, the apparent weight of passengers can vary depending on factors such as height, weight, and body composition. Taller and heavier individuals may experience a greater change in apparent weight compared to smaller individuals.

5. How does the apparent weight of passengers affect the safety of a roller coaster?

The apparent weight of passengers is an important factor in the safety of a roller coaster. If the forces and accelerations experienced by passengers are too extreme, it can cause discomfort or even injury. Therefore, roller coasters are designed with safety in mind, considering the apparent weight of passengers in their design and operation.

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