# What's the most effective way to increase run time on a paper rollercoaster?

• Cyberfreeze
In summary, the conversation is about a student's final semester exam where they have to build a paper roller-coaster with marbles. The student's group is trying to increase their ride duration to get extra credit, but another group has come up with a more efficient method using tracks and funnels. The student seeks advice from others on how to increase their run time, especially from those who are good at physics. The conversation also touches on the importance of minimizing energy loss and maximizing potential energy for a longer run time.
Cyberfreeze
For my final semester exam, where building paper roller-coaster with marbles as the coaster and one of the things were testing is ride duration. The group with the longest run time will get extra credit and my GPA could really use the boost. so i guess my question is what's the best way to increase run time? the roller-coasters will have funnels, half pipes and a jump. I've already figured out that adding lots of funnels at the correct angle will increase my run time exponentially but my teacher warned me that another group has come up with a method using the tracks and funnels that will work so well that if i don't come up with something super cleaver there's no chance of beating them. so i figured i would ask people way smarter then myself who are actually super good at physics how they would do it. sorry for horrible grammar and punctuation, i wrote this in a hurry.

Did you try rails with variable distance? Which distance works best?

My experience as a roller coaster designer falls into the super low category. My experience designing systems says that funnels are a red herring. Design your path so that the highest amount of energy is directed in the same direction (namely concurrent with the rails). Any device that causes a non beneficial redirection of energy will ultimately slow you down.
I assume you have parameters to work within such as height at start and overall size. Use these to best advantage. If a funnel causes a circulation of the marble it will "waste" energy, If it functions as a rail with a single point of contact it reduce expenditure. Evaluate your pathway such that the aiming of the entrance to any redirection is aligned with the intended path. Also as I commented earlier one point of contact is lower friction than two, but harder to control.
Just a few random rambling from efficiency point of view. I loved every one of my school projects like this. Keep the friction down by every means 1/sharper rails rather than blunt due to area of contact, 2/ consider air resistance, a narrow tube protects the flow but too close creates slug flow which acts like a pump, 3/small sections of single point contact can be beneficial 4/if you miss on that jump the impact will dissipate a large amount of energy, position it carefully and by trial. 4/the resistance of the air is important over time.

Which run carried more energy and how was it dissipated?

@Ketch22: The goal is to make the marble slow and run for a long time.

mfb said:
@Ketch22: The goal is to make the marble slow and run for a long time.
This is true, and after a small run the marble with the greater energy will be able to regain the greater height.
A roller coaster goes faster and then recaptures that energy by conversion of kinetic energy to potential energy. The potential is then converted again, and reconverted again. The run time only stops when the marble stops moving. It is safe to say that the overall system with the lowest loss will run the longest.

Based on the first post I don’t think you are allowed to make the track closed and let the ball oscillate as long as you can see it. A single stage of this type wouldn’t lead to a long runtime either.

Ketch22 said:
It is safe to say that the overall system with the lowest loss will run the longest.
Dropping the marble vertically would have very little loss, but the shortest duration.

## What is the role of gravity in rollercoaster mechanics?

Gravity plays a crucial role in rollercoaster mechanics by providing the energy needed to propel the coaster through its course. The coaster's initial ascent is powered by a motor or chain lift, but once it reaches the top, gravity takes over and pulls the coaster down the track. The coaster then gains speed and momentum as it goes through the loops and turns, all thanks to the force of gravity.

## How do rollercoasters maintain their speed throughout the ride?

Rollercoasters maintain their speed through a combination of gravity, kinetic and potential energy, and the design of the track. As the coaster goes through dips and turns, the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, which keeps the coaster moving. The track is also designed to minimize friction, allowing the coaster to maintain its speed.

## What safety measures are in place to prevent accidents on rollercoasters?

There are several safety measures in place to prevent accidents on rollercoasters. These include regular maintenance and inspections of the ride, strict height and weight restrictions for riders, and safety restraints such as lap bars and seat belts. In addition, emergency brake systems are installed to stop the coaster in case of any malfunctions.

## How are rollercoasters designed and tested for safety?

Rollercoasters are designed using computer software that simulates the ride's movements and physics. This allows engineers to test different designs and ensure that the coaster is safe and functional. Once the design is finalized, the coaster undergoes rigorous testing, including running the ride with weighted dummies to simulate real riders and testing it in different weather conditions.

## What factors affect the thrill and intensity of a rollercoaster ride?

The thrill and intensity of a rollercoaster ride are affected by several factors, including the height and steepness of drops, the number and tightness of turns, the speed and duration of the ride, and any special effects or elements such as inversions or launches. The rider's height, weight, and position on the coaster can also affect the intensity of the ride experience.

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