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Project Manager Questions

Autumn Eberhart
1. How much kinetic energy is required for various track features? For example, how much kinetic

energy is required for a marble to successfully navigate a loop in the track?

Kinetic energy is the energy an object has because of its motion. As the marble rolls through the

track, then it is is building motion and momentum. In order for the marble to accelerate through

the roller coaster then the energy must transfer at a constant speed. Kinetic energy is greatest at

the lowest point of a roller coaster and least at the highest point.

2. You can expand the experiment by building a set of roller coaster tracks with various loop sizes.

How does the kinetic energy requirement change when the loop diameter increases? How does

the kinetic energy requirement change when the loop diameter decreases?

Basically, as the loop diameter increases, the more kinetic energy and momentum required for

the marble to actually go around the loop and stay on track. Likewise, the smaller the loop

diameter the less kinetic energy is required for the marble to successfully go around the loop.

3. If you can find spheres that have equal diameter but made from different materials, you could

investigate how the mass of the sphere affects how well it travels along the track.

Different materials can contribute to different energies. For example, on our project we used

insulator tubes and these tubes allowed the marble momentum and enough energy to actually
move the marble on the tracks. Initially, we used colorful tubes that are used as floats in

swimming pools, but the texture would not allow the ball to freely move through the tube. We

even tried to use tape to line the tube, thinking that the sleek surface would allow the marble to

gain enough momentum to actually move through the tube.

4. Maybe you noticed that your loop wobbles a bit as your marble passes through it. The energy to

move the track comes from the marble. The energy that the marble loses to make the track move

means less energy is available to make the marble itself move. Can you think of a way to stabilize

the loop so that it doesn't wobble? Does the marble have more kinetic energy after exiting the

stabilized loop? Design an experiment to find out!

The best way for the loop to be stabilized is through support. If we support the loop good enough

then it shouldnt wobble and thus lose energy. We can use a stand or something strong and

sturdy to hold up to loop. After the loop, the kinetic energy should have increased simply

because the marble gained potential energy (and momentum) after the loop.

5. Try using different lengths of roller coaster track so that you can adjust the initial slope of the

track. Keep the starting height the same, but change the slope by adding additional track length.

(Remember, slope is rise/run, so you'll be holding the "rise" constant, and gradually increasing

the "run.") How do you think the kinetic energy of the marble will change as you change the

slope of the track?

Kinetic energy is the energy of movement. Gravitational potential energy is greatest at the

highest point of a roller coaster and least at the lowest point. When you add additional track the

down slope from the table not keep as much of the kinetic energy that it produces, so the marble
goes slower. When you take off some of the track the the marble gets more momentum and the

marble contains and keeps the kinetic energy that it produced.

6. How do potential and kinetic energy effect a roller coaster?

Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy are interchangeable. On a roller coaster the two types of

energy are exchanged for each other. Not to mention that, energy is what carries the marble

through the roller coaster.

7. What is role of gravity in the movement of the roller coaster?

Gravity is the the reason why people do not fall on the roller coaster when they ride it. As the

roller coaster gets higher in the air, gravity can pull it down a greater distance.

8. What is the impact of momentum on the roller coaster movement?

According to learner.org, momentum depends upon mass and velocity, or in other words, the

amount of "stuff" that is moving and how fast the "stuff" is moving. A train of roller coaster cars

moving at a high speed has a lot of momentum. If the roller coaster gains enough momentum

(usually at the top of the track) then the marble should be able to finish the whole track,

including loops and hills.

9. How does the law of Conservation of Energy apply to how a roller coaster moves?

A roller coaster shows a clear example of the exchange of potential and kinetic energy. The law

of conservation of energy states that within a closed system, energy can change form, but it

cannot be created or destroyed. In other words, the total amount of energy remains constant. On

a roller coaster, energy changes from potential to kinetic energy and back again many times over

the course of a ride. (pbslearningmedia.org)

10. Explain how the three laws of motion are essential to the movement of a roller coaster:
Newtons three laws are the basis for roller coasters. The law of inertia is very important to our

rollercoaster model and essential to keep our marble safe while giving the passengers the thrill of

being in danger. . An understanding of Newton's second law of motion and basic motion

concepts such as position, velocity and acceleration. When the coaster ascends one of the

smaller hills that follows the initial lift hill, its kinetic energy changes back to potential energy.

11. When watching the movement of a roller coaster, when do you observe Newton's First Law of


When the roller coaster starts to drop it wants to continue moving in the same direction at a

constant speed. It doesn't however because the tracks act as an outside force and change the

roller coaster car's direction. Newton's first law applies to object at rest as well. An object at rest

has inertia because it wants to stay at rest.

12. When watching the movement of a roller coaster, when do you observe Newton's Second Law of


The second law states that F=ma, or force is equal to mass times acceleration. When the roller

coaster is going down its first big downhill drop, the acceleration due to gravity is acting on it in

a downward manner thus giving a downward force to the coaster.

13. When watching the movement of a roller coaster, when do you observe Newton's Third Law of


Gravity is what makes roller coasters fun, gravity also has a direct effect on speed and

acceleration.This laws also applies because the more mass on the roller coaster, the more force it

will take the roller coaster to make the cars accelerate at the same rate as an empty car
14. Explain the relationship between speed and velocity in regards to the movement of a roller


The rate of change in velocity (the speed of an object in a certain direction) is known as

acceleration. Whether an object is speeding up, slowing down, or changing direction, it is

accelerating. The acceleration of a roller coaster depends on its mass and how strong is the force

that is pushing or pulling it.

15. How is force, a push or a pull-on matter, demonstrated in the movement of a roller coaster?

When the roller coaster speeds up, the seat in the cart pushes you forward, accelerating your

motion. In addition, It takes work to lift a roller coaster to the top of the first hill in order to

overcome the force of gravity.

16. Explain how electron transfer results in electrostatic charge?

Whenever electrons are transferred between objects, neutral matter becomes charged. This

occurs even with individual atoms. Atoms are neutral in electric charge because they have the

same number of negative electrons as positive protons.

17. What is the relationship between a circuit current and voltage?

The relationship between current and voltage can be defined in ohms law, The equation, i = v/r,

tells us that the current, i, flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage, v, and

inversely proportional to the resistance, r.

18. How are wavelength, frequency and energy related in electromagnetism?

An inverse relationship exists; electromagnetic radiation with shorter wavelengths the more

energetic. The relationship between energy and frequency is given by the equation, E = h,

where h is Planck's constant. A direct relationship exists;electromagnetic radiation with a higher

frequency is more energetic. (springer.com)

19. List and explain all observable forms of energy when watching the movement of a roller coaster.

On a roller coaster, energy changes from potential to kinetic energy and back again many times

over the course of a ride. One can physically see the the acceleration taken place in a high speed

roller coaster. Not to mention the gravity and inertia taken place (especially through loops and

hills.) Also, the marble accelerates and builds up enough kinetic energy to propel it through the

remainder of the ride.

20. How can the use of magnetism benefit a rollercoaster?

The strength of the magnet is usually what stop the roller coaster. In addition, roller coasters use

the opposite side of magnets that repel in order to accelerate. Roller Coasters only use magnets at

the beginning when you go up the first hill, after that the roller coaster creates enough energy to

push itself. The roller coaster stops using magnets also, the amount of magnets can vary with the

roller coaster.