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Homework Help: Roller Coaster G-Forces

  1. Aug 17, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    The PDF graph shows the g-force values of a roller coaster at specific times during the ride. The normal g-force value during this assignment is -1 because the acceleration due to gravity on earth is -10 m/s^2. We have to assign each time value from the PDF graph to certain points on the roller coaster, but that's not really my problem.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Going my teacher's logic for the g-values, a bigger negative g-force value means you feel heaver, while a less negative g-force value/positive g-force value means you feel lighter. This contradicts some research I've done, but that's mainly because we use -1 as the standard value instead of 1. However, according to the PDF file, going up the incline (the first hill), you feel lighter, while going down the incline, you feel heavier. Isn't this opposite of what should be happening? Am I missing something here? I've attached the graph and the picture of the roller coaster.

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2012 #2


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    Homework Helper

    Is it g value or g force? G force is normally the force you feel from the coaster or vechicle, and positive means you feel the seat pushing you "upwards", negative means you feel the seat belts pulling you "downwards". g value could mean the absolute acceleration, so a g value of -1 would be free fall and you would feel zero g force. I'm not sure how your teacher is using the term g value.

    You didn't mention if going up the incline was the initial climb where some mechanism puills the coaster upwards at constant velocity, in which case you feel a total of 1 g of force, pushing you "upwards" and "forwards".

    If the coaster is coasting, then on straight inclined sections, the total g force is less than 1, becoming 0 if the incline is vertical.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
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