# What Physics Topics Relate to Ski Lifts?

• Chairliftop
In summary, the conversation discusses an investigation topic related to ski lifts and the measurable physics topics that could be studied. One idea is to calculate the downward pressure of riders on a chairlift and how it overcomes the friction of the haul rope on the bull wheel. The calculation would involve collecting relevant equations and considering factors such as weight and slope angle. Another suggestion is to measure the electric power consumption to estimate the friction losses. A real test with riders and a spring balance could also be conducted.
Chairliftop
Thread moved from the technical forums, so no Homework Template is shown
Hello Everybody!

I am looking for some help in formulating an investigation topic relating to ski lifts. What measurable physics topics relate to ski lifts?

One idea I came up with how much downward pressure of riders on a chairlift would overcome the friction of the haul rope (the cable) on the bull wheel (the main wheel at the bottom and top terminals)? How would I go about calculating this?

Thank you so much in advance!

Hello ClO,

Chairliftop said:
How would I go about calculating this?
Well, you set the distance between skiers on the haul side of the rope, say 10 m. You pick a length for the haul side of rope, say 500 m. So 50 skiers at any time. Average weight, slope angle and there you go (with a few relevant equations -- you collect them and list them in a next post). You could ignore friction at first, perhaps later add a friction coefficient -- if that's already been treated in you class.

Calculation won't help if you don't know the friction. Can you ruin a test with zero riders and measure the electric power consumption. That's a fair approximation of the friction losses.

Better still its to run a real test with riders and measure the power consumption dynamically.

Is this a thought experiment? Or do you have a ski lift available ? You could measure the force needed to haul one skier up with a spring balance
(picture borrowed from here -- you'll need a heavier kind)

Note that this force has to compensate some dynamic friction plus a fraction of the weight of the skier !

## 1. What is the purpose of a ski lift physics investigation?

The purpose of a ski lift physics investigation is to understand the principles of physics involved in the operation and efficiency of ski lifts. This includes examining the forces acting on the lift, the energy required to power the lift, and the design and mechanics of the lift system.

## 2. How does the weight of the skiers affect the operation of a ski lift?

The weight of the skiers affects the operation of a ski lift by increasing the amount of force needed to move the lift. As more weight is added to the lift, the motor or engine powering the lift must work harder to overcome the force of gravity and move the lift up the mountain.

## 3. What factors contribute to the safety of a ski lift?

The safety of a ski lift depends on a variety of factors, including proper maintenance and inspection of the lift, the design and construction of the lift, and the training and expertise of the lift operators. Additionally, weather conditions, such as wind and snow, can also affect the safety of a ski lift.

## 4. How is energy efficiency achieved in ski lifts?

Energy efficiency in ski lifts is achieved through careful design and engineering of the lift system. This includes using lightweight materials, such as aluminum, for the lift structure, as well as implementing regenerative braking systems to capture and reuse energy. Proper maintenance and operation of the lift can also contribute to energy efficiency.

## 5. What are the potential risks associated with ski lifts?

The potential risks associated with ski lifts include mechanical failures, such as cable or motor malfunctions, as well as operator error or negligence. Weather conditions, such as high winds or heavy snowfall, can also pose a risk to the safe operation of a ski lift. It is important for ski resorts to regularly inspect and maintain their lifts and for skiers to follow all safety guidelines and procedures while riding the lift.

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