# Physics Discussion Question On My Roller Coaster Lab (Energy-Related)?

• wiffellballki
In summary, during the roller coaster lab, the metal marble's energy was not conserved due to various factors such as friction, rolling resistance, mechanical flexing of the track, sound energy, heating from friction, and potential induction of currents in nearby conductors.
wiffellballki

## Homework Statement

We did this roller coaster lab where we had a metal marble roll up and down this roller coaster track.

One of the questions he asked us was "is energy "missing?" explain where it went."

I know friction takes some of it, but I am not good at wording it right to sound good. Help??

PE= M*g*height
KE= 1/2mv^2

## The Attempt at a Solution

I know it has to do with friction taking away some of it, but i need to make it sound good!

Well there's some rolling resistance in the metal ball - not a lot though!
Then the track mechanically flexes as the marble passes - that's much more.
Can you hear that marble? - sound energy is very small though.
Heating of the marble and track due to their frictional interaction.
If the marble does any sliding rather than rolling there's plenty of energy loss.
Is the marble magnetic? Induced currents in any nearby conductor will siphon off more energy.

This list is not exhaustive I'm sure.

Great question! In our roller coaster lab, we observed the transfer of energy between potential energy and kinetic energy. As the marble rolls up the track, it gains potential energy due to its position above the ground. This potential energy is then converted into kinetic energy as the marble rolls down the track. However, we also observed that the marble did not reach the same height on each subsequent run, indicating that some of the energy was lost. This is due to the presence of friction, which acts as a force opposing the motion of the marble. Friction converts some of the energy into heat, causing a decrease in the marble's speed and height on subsequent runs. Therefore, it is not that the energy is "missing," but rather that it has been transformed into a different form. This phenomenon is known as energy dissipation and is an important concept in understanding the behavior of objects in motion.

## 1. What is the purpose of conducting a roller coaster lab in physics?

The purpose of conducting a roller coaster lab in physics is to study and apply concepts of energy, specifically potential and kinetic energy, as well as other principles such as conservation of energy and friction. This allows for a hands-on understanding of these concepts and their real-world applications.

## 2. How does the height of a roller coaster affect its potential and kinetic energy?

The height of a roller coaster directly affects its potential and kinetic energy. As the roller coaster climbs to a higher height, it gains potential energy. This potential energy is then converted into kinetic energy as the roller coaster goes down the track. The higher the initial height, the more potential energy the roller coaster will have, resulting in a faster and more thrilling ride.

## 3. How does friction play a role in the energy of a roller coaster?

Friction plays a significant role in the energy of a roller coaster. As the roller coaster moves along the track, friction between the wheels and the track causes a loss of energy in the form of heat. This means that the roller coaster has less energy to work with as it moves along the track, resulting in a decrease in speed and height.

## 4. What is the relationship between the mass of a roller coaster and its energy?

The mass of a roller coaster has a direct relationship with its energy. A roller coaster with a greater mass will require more energy to move and accelerate. This means that a roller coaster with a larger mass will have more potential and kinetic energy compared to a roller coaster with a smaller mass.

## 5. How does the design of a roller coaster impact its energy and overall ride experience?

The design of a roller coaster can greatly impact its energy and overall ride experience. A well-designed roller coaster will have carefully calculated heights and curves to maximize potential and kinetic energy while minimizing friction. This results in a more thrilling and enjoyable ride for passengers.

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