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Question

Competency

In this project, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following competency:

  • Apply

principles of conservation of energy and momentum to analyze the behavior of interacting objects

Scenario


You have been asked by your supervisors at A&L Engineering to design a roller coaster for a new theme park. Because this design is in the initial stages, you have been asked to create a track for the ride. Your coaster should have at least two peaks and two valleys, and launch from an initial height of 75 meters. Each peak and valley should represent a vertical change of at least 20 meters. In your design, you should plan for a mass between 400 and 600 kilograms.

Once you have designed the track, you have been asked to calculate the kinetic energy, potential energy, momentum, and work done by the cart at various points throughout the track. Unless otherwise stated, you can ignore the effects of friction. Following your calculations, you have been asked to describe the energy transfers detailed by these equations.

Directions

To complete roller coaster design report, complete the following:

  1. Create diagram of a roller coaster track containing at least two peaks and two valleys. As you complete report, you may wish to design a more complicated coaster. However, it should still have two peaks and two valleys that meet the requirements below and that you are comfortable using in calculations and descriptions of energy and momentum. Your diagram should include the following information:
  • An initial height of 75 meters
  • At least two peaks and two valleys representing drops of over 20 meters
  • A set mass for your roller coaster cart between 400 and 600 kilograms
  1. Calculate the kinetic energy, potential energy, and momentum of the cart at the initial drop for both peaks, and for both valleys. If your coaster has more than two peaks and two valleys, select which peaks and valleys you wish to use in your calculations and clearly mark them on your diagram. In your calculations, be sure to explicitly state the equations you use and what values you will be substituting to calculate the final value.
  2. Describe the energy transfers that occur as the cart moves along the track. This should be a narrative description of the energy transfers that occur at the initial launching point, peaks, and valleys. In your descriptions, address the following:
  • At each of the identified points, how was kinetic energy transferred to potential energy, and vice versa?
  • What happens to the total energy of the cart as it moves along the track? Why?
  • How is the principle of conservation of energy applied in this situation?

In addition to your description of the motion of the cart on the track, you have been asked to model the motion of the cart as it comes to a stop at the end of the coaster. For these calculations, assume that the cart will inelastically collide with a cart of equal mass at rest on a flat surface.

  1. Calculate the momentum and kinetic energy of the cart before and after an inelastic collision. In your calculations, be sure to explicitly state the equations you use and what values you will be substituting to calculate the final value.
  2. Describe the energy transfers that occur as a cart inelastically collides with an object of equal mass at rest. This should be a narrative description of the energy transfers that occur as the cart inelastically collides with a cart of equal mass. In your descriptions, address the following:
  • What was the kinetic energy of each cart before and after the collision?
  • What happens to the total energy of the system, now including both carts, as a result of the inelastic collision?
  • Describe how the principle of conservation of energy is applied in this situation.

Following the inelastic collision of the carts, the two carts fuse into an object with double the mass of the original cart. There is then a frictional section of the track to slow the cart to a stop over 20 meters. Describe the amount of work due to friction and frictional force exerted to stop both carts over 20 meters.

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