Roller Coasters: The Physics and History 101

Roller Coasters: The Physics and History 101

Physics
Hundreds of years ago in the 16th and 17th centuries, "roller coasters" began as huge ice slides in Russia. Some slides were as high as 70 feet as far as we know. Passengers sat on some type of carriage or sled, usually with some added fur or straw for comfort and padding, and slid down the icy slope. Applying the technique of friction, sand was used towards the end of the slide to keep the slide from going too fast and to also keep the slide from crashing. Eventually, the sleds became more ornate and were usually fashioned of wood, often with iron runners to make the sleds more elaborate, faster, and more fanciful. Most people have heard all about the history of Coney Island and the first American roller…
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