# Superman: The Escape velocity theory

Friday, August 3, 2001 11:39 AM
I was just watching my coaster DVD which shows S:TE. I've always noticed that it doesn't quite get near the top. This got me thinking about the physics of the ride. On a normal coaster, the heavier the train, the faster (and therefore higher) it can go. However, that is due to gravity doing the work. On Superman, the LSMs are doing the work. Having never been to Magic Mountain, I can't confirm this so I figured I'd ask here. Since gravity has nothing to do with how high the train goes, does a lighter train go higher than a heavily loaded train?

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Joshua Wilcox
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The preceding statement is false.
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Friday, August 3, 2001 11:44 AM
i think so but i havent been either.
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Friday, August 3, 2001 12:19 PM
Yes. I rode this solo once, at the Goliathon event in 2000, and got almost all the way up to the brake run. I've never come close to it with a full car.
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Friday, August 3, 2001 12:23 PM
That's true. The lighter STE's car is, the higher it will go. I asked my Drafting/CAD teacher that and he told me in that case, it would go higher when it's lighter.

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Check Out http://geocities.com/totallysfmm And
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Friday, August 3, 2001 12:34 PM
When gravity is doing the work, the acceleration is independent of mass. That is, heavier trains do not go faster than lighter ones. Heavier trains have more total energy, but because of the added mass, they don't accelerate any faster.

When you launch a coaster, though, the amount of force you apply will be related to the mass of the train and the speed you want to achieve. So if you apply a given amount of force to the train, the speed it reaches will vary with the train's mass. Then the train will start up the spike, and gravity will drag it back down, accelerating it at a constant rate; when its velocity reaches zero, it will start to fall back down the tower. The distance the train goes up the tower will depend on how fast the train is going when gravity takes over.

Since a lighter train has less mass to move, for a given amount of energy applied to the train, the lighter train will go faster, and thus, go higher up the tower.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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Friday, August 3, 2001 12:35 PM
Thanks for confirming, guys!

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Joshua Wilcox
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Friday, August 3, 2001 12:36 PM
OF course, Dave, that's 'in theory.' A heavier coaster train will maintain it's speed better throughout the course of the ride, since the forces acting on it (such as friction) have a harder time slowing down the larger mass. Thus, a heavier coaster train will move somewhat faster through the entire ride.

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Jman
Webmaster: Gravibulb Coasters
http://balder.prohosting.com/gravbulb/coasters/
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Friday, August 3, 2001 12:43 PM
If that's true, I don't think it would effect the train very much at all in comparison to the difference gravity and the LSMs make.

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Joshua Wilcox
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The preceding statement is false.
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Friday, August 3, 2001 2:36 PM

Although a heavier car would maintain it's speed, it won't once the ride goes vertical since it will have the added force of gravity added to the preexisting friction.
Think of the ride this way:
You have 2 objects, one weighs 2 pounds, the other weighs 5. Both are of same size and shape. But then try throwing both into the air with the same amount of force, which will go up higher? This is the basis of this ride, you are getting thrown, so to speak, up the tower.
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The SFMM Salvi:
"Goliath Jr. looks to intense for me"
"I want to go on something more exciting than X"
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Friday, August 3, 2001 2:49 PM

No the heavier trains goes higher. i Have seen it go with okly a few peeps and go hafway up, but i have also seen it Full and almost hit the brakes up their. I think the reason is beacuase the lsm have to work harder to push the train which speed s it up. But your are saying a tennis bal when i throw it will go higher than a baseball. This i have to disagrue with you cuase you need more force to throw the baseball up which makes it go higher, and faster than you could ever picth a tenis ball with out a racket.
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the return of Intaminrocks
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Friday, August 3, 2001 8:12 PM
Doesn't S:TE and T.o.T have sensors on the track which measures the car's speed/mass from launch? Most likely the same amount of energy is applied for every initial launch & then the speed/mass is calculated & the energy output is adjusted accordingly. I.e. a full car will need more energy to get up to the same speed as a empty one. Assuming this is 100% correct, theoretically the cars should go up the same height. This not the case as other variables have to be taken into account, the air temp, wind etc. Just my 2ยข.
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Friday, August 3, 2001 8:42 PM
Intaminrocks: more force/power is needed to start the car moving in the first place than a lighter car. This doesn't speed it up any more than the lighter cars, it just takes more force to get it up to speed in the first place.

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Benjamin Jones | Yet another coaster-craving yuppie
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Friday, August 3, 2001 10:14 PM
Only S and S will, weigh trains.

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Steel top 5
1.S:TE
2.Stelth
3.B:TR
4. Riddler's Revenge
5. Goliath
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Friday, August 3, 2001 10:34 PM
Yup, they're the only ones who actually weigh the trains before launch. Intamin doesn't actually weigh their RFF cars, they derive the mass from acceleration sensors i.e if an empty & full car are given a Megawatt of juice each, the empty car will accelerate faster & cover more track than the full one in the same time. S&S would've done the same, only it's much harder to regulate the flow of air & it launches too quickly! :)
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