Leviathan vs. Steel Dragon 2000 chain lift...

Jephry's avatar

I'd like to preface this topic by saying I attempted to search for previous posts about this, but I couldn't find anything.

Steel Dragon 2000 uses two chain lifts because a single chain would be too heavy. From what I understand, Leviathan uses a single chain. Was the double chain just preferred by Morgan or is there something I'm missing?

That's a good question. Especially since B&M trains are (or appear to be) sturdier and I'd imagine heavier.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Fun's avatar

Something I have wondered as well.

First you have to look at the angle of the lift hills. I have no idea what either is, but it appears that Steel Dragon is not as steep a climb.

Second, I'd look at the trains. I would actually think the Steel Dragon trains are heavier, or at least were due to the huge fiberglass shells.

A third thought- perhaps motor technology has improved so that a single chain motor like on Leviathan is practical.

What I would like to know is whether Steel Dragon's new trains adopted Morgan's double lift arrangement, or whether the track was altered to a single motor lift with the new B&M trains.

An excellent question as well.

As long as the chain doesn't break and leave riders stranded on the lift hill, it's all good.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

blasterboy6500's avatar

A single chain would have been too long, heavy, and slow, at least twice the weight of a single train. As a result, block brakes are set up to allow two trains to safely occupy the lift. Yes, that's from Wikipedia, not RCDB. :(

Last edited by blasterboy6500,
You don't need a parachute to jump out of an airplane. You need one to do it again.

Dragon Mountain (which I haven't been on, but look forward to) also uses 2 chain lifts on the lift hill. The track passes through a hut where the chain lifts trade off.

B&M obviously has proven that one chain is sufficient for a lift.

It may be because Leviathan has a lift close to 40* (anybody know for sure?) of the 300' or so makes for a smaller chain (and less weight) than SD2000 which appears to have a lift of maybe 30* for a much longer distance. So weight could have got much heavier with the chain length.

Doing some quick trig, lets just put both lifts at 310 for comparison... SD2000 at 30*, Leviathan at 40*...

The length of the chain is approx. 482' for Leviathan and 620' for SD2000 only one way, without any length given for the crest, return and all that. So let's double it for the return and add 10% for the path the chain will follow in the motors and such... So 1060ft of total chain for Leviathan and 1364ft for SD2000... I have no clue what the chain weighs per foot, but I will assume a good 30lbs at least.

Total chain weight of Leviathan = 31,800lbs

Total chain weight of SD2000 = 40,920lbs

So you are looking at around a 9,000lb difference in chains, roughly... From this rough estimate.

Add a several thousand pound train though, and Leviathan may actually stress the motor *more* because of the steeper angle. The steeper the angle, the higher load on the chain itself and less on the structure. So in the end, I really wonder how much different they really would be... Not knowing any of the real numbers...

I still think B&M just does things smarter/better... Or Morgan wanted a second block.

Jeff's avatar

In theory, ignoring friction, it takes the same amount of energy to lift something at 10 degrees or 90 degrees.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

Hmmm.. Not sure I follow. If you were to pull somebody on a cart up a ramp at a 20* slope it would be much easier than a 50* slope, ignoring friction. More energy would be required since less of the weight is being offset by the ramp itself. At least by basic statics.

The same theory (I believe) would be applied to the coaster lift... At a steeper angle, the motor will see higher stress since the chain will be under higher tension. If you treat the bottom and top of the lifts as pulleys which share tension equally on both sides, the motor should be receiving a higher resistance which it has to overcome with a higher power (torque) motor.

That is my thought process, at least. Not sure if the gears at the top and bottom of the lift between the motor itself dissipate any of the loading or if they act as pulleys.

Last edited by SteveWoA,
Jeff's avatar

It would be easier, yes, but it would not require more energy. When you lift something, you're increasing potential energy for that object. It's easier on a gradual slope to move something because the thing under it is supporting much of the weight, but the same energy is required to move something one vertical foot regardless of the angle. Remember that the same is true when you're going in the other direction. A bullet dropped and a bullet fired from a gun, at the same height, will hit the ground at the same time. Energy is not lost or created when moving something vertically (well, if you're ignoring friction, in which case a gradual incline would be less efficient because of wheels and dragging a chain).

EDIT: Here you go... same work required regardless of incline: http://www.physicsclassroom.com/mmedia/energy/au.cfm

What you're probably thinking of is force (mass * acceleration), in which case, yes, it takes more force to lift something straight up.

Last edited by Jeff,

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

ThatStrangeKid42's avatar

I might have something to do with the type of track, seeing as Leviathan uses the track that all B&M rides seem to have. But don't completely trust me on this, I'm just guessing.

rollergator's avatar

Here I was thinking (rightly?) that the discussion abotu lift angle was simply a means to adjust the weight of the lift-chain. A 90* lift requires much less chain to get trains up and over the lift than a 45* lift. It's my belief/opinion that even though chain is heavy, the train weight is SO great that it typically makes the weight of the lift-chain, and the riders, fairly negligible.

I'm always willing to be wrong factually on this kind of stuff, but I usually feel like I have a decent idea of what ideas people are raising in their arguments....lefties being right-brained people, LOL.... ;~)

Last edited by rollergator,
Jephry's avatar

And to be honest, I don't remember the specific reason why they split the trains back in the day. I want to say it was the weight of the chain itself, not so much the weight of the train being carried up the lift. But it makes sense with the steeper incline, less chain theory...

All things being equal, a steeper lift would require more power. All of a sudden, I'm having flash backs to Tim Allen on Home Improvement.

Yeah, and lift speed doesn't change the speed at teh bottom of the drop... blah blah blah...

What's more important is fast and efficient operations!

Jeff's avatar

Wow, that's really awful. It takes half a day to park the train, too.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

At least they sound happy, excited and seem eager to help and make people happy. You know, like some Six Flags parks and Mt. Olympus.

^^ somewhere nearby, Travis is laughing his arse off.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

LostKause's avatar

How did you guess? lol

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