What is theCoaster Lab?

The is a set of companion materials toCoaster LabCoaster Dynamicsthat help teach basic concepts in science and physics using your computer as a virtual laboratory for conducting experiments.

A key to theis the "Data Watchpoint" -- a unique feature ofCoaster LabCoaster Dynamics.

Watchpoints are pre-defined points on every roller coaster track. At each of these points, you can determine the physical parameters describing the motion of the roller coaster car. These parameters are: speed, distance, position, velocity, and G force.

An example Watchpoint Display is shown below for a Round Loop.

By analyzing data like this, you can determine the location and magnitude of the maximum G force in the loop. This allows you to experiment and determine, for instance, how the G force varies with the loop size.

There are 3 main components of theCoaster Lab.

First, during the design of your roller coaster,Coaster Dynamicswill providewhen a problem occurs -- for instance, when the G force in a loop is too large, or the speed is too slow or too fast. TheDesign Hintswill suggest a way to correct the problem, and offer further information which will allow you to calculate a solution to the problem. These solutions explore such topics as forces and Newton's Laws of Motion, potential and kinetic energy, conservation of energy, and friction & work.Design Hints

Second, theincludes a set ofCoaster Labsuitable for use in a classroom. TheCoaster Lab Lessonsare laboratory exercises designed to fit into a typical classroom format, and cover fundamental topics normally included in the study of dynamics and Newtonian Mechanics. The lessons are consistent with the curricula of most first-semester courses in introductory physics.Coaster Lab Lessons

The mathematics background needed to use theinclude a basic understanding of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and vector analysis in 2 and 3 dimensions. Also included are some optional advanced study topics which utilize beginning calculus (derivatives and integrals).Coaster Lab

Answers to theare available to registered users ofCoaster Lab LessonsCoaster Dynamics.The answer sets can be viewed by selecting the "Coaster Lab" option inCoaster Dynamics.To access the answers, you will need to enter a Software License Password -- which can be obtained by paying a Software License Fee and becoming a registeredCoaster Dynamicsuser. Please note thatCoaster Dynamicsis a shareware product. With the exception of theyou can freely useCoaster Lab Answers,Coaster Dynamicsfor evaluation purposes only.

The third component of theis theCoaster Lab-- which is a summary guide to the physics of roller coasters. It covers the basic topics in Newtonian Mechanics required to understand and analyze roller coaster motion. It is an excellent supplemental resource which can be used in conjunction with a comprehensive physics textbook.Coaster Dynamics Physics Primer

TheandCoaster Lab Lessonscan be viewed and/or printed using the web browser (Internet Explorer or Netscape) installed on your computer.Coaster Dynamics Physics Primer

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