Centripetal Force (noun): a force that acts on a body moving in a circular path and is directed toward the center around which the body is moving.
Bliss (noun): perfect happiness; great joy.
Roller coasters work off of two basic principles of physics: gravity, and centripetal force. A roller coaster train gains its momentum either by being pulled up a lift hill and dropped down a big drop, or catapulted to high speeds by some means of quick propulsion, or in some cases, a combination of the two. Once the train disengages from its lift hill or launch mechanism, it relies purely on gravity and its own momentum to carry it back to the loading station.
A roller coaster train is locked to its track via sets of wheels that roll on top of, to the side of, and underneath the rails. The rails guide the trains along each drop, curve, twist, and loop. Newton’s first law of motion tells us that the train constantly wants to travel in a straight line, but the track is continuously changing the train’s direction, introducing centripetal force, a center-seeking force applied to the train, and therefore the riders, as it curves around an implied central point.
It’s this centripetal force that gives a roller coaster its thrills. Every time riders drop down a drop, speed around a twist or turn, or rocket through an inversion, they are experiencing a combination of vertical, lateral, and accelerative forces unique to the roller coaster they’re riding. These forces fill our brains to the brim with intense vestibular stimulation (our brains’ monitoring of physical movement), resulting in either great fear, nausea, euphoria, or some combo of the three.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessively drawn to roller coasters. They are incredible feats of engineering, construction, and physics that give people the opportunity to experience sensations not found in everyday life, such as free fall, high speeds, twists and turns, and flipping upside down, all in a controlled and safe fashion. Riding them is an addiction. I can’t get enough of them. They are so thrilling and fun and exciting that I made it a pact to travel around the world to learn about and ride every single one that I can.
This website is place where I can discuss my thoughts on the amusement parks I’ve visited and the rides I’ve ridden. Roller coasters are my passion, and I have a lot to say about them, so welcome. Welcome to my digital notebook: Centripetal Bliss.