Whats Holding Xcelerator up !!

Friday, April 12, 2002 2:22 AM

Now i am not a engineer or a mechanic but i have to say there is a lot of the 'top hat' on xcellerator not being held by any supports. http://www.westcoaster.net/

The whole top of the curve is un-supported. Is this me or does it look that way to you lot as well.

A nice explanation from an engineer will go down well. Cheers

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Friday, April 12, 2002 3:31 AM

The reason the track can stay up and support a lot of loading from winds and the train is triangles. The box section track is made up of thousands of triangles which make a structure incredible strong. Look at tower cranes theres supports are made from traingles and look at the loads they can support. I am sure someone can put it better than that, but thats the basics!

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Friday, April 12, 2002 4:48 AM
I'm no engineer either, but simplifing what you said, the track itself is the support structure.
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Friday, April 12, 2002 4:55 AM
Does that mean it can't be done with B&M track? *Covers ears in anticipation of a heated debate.* :)
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Friday, April 12, 2002 5:01 AM
It is the same, basic concept that keeps the St. Louis arch from falling down. The force of the two "sides" pusing together at the apex keeps the structure standing very safely.
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Friday, April 12, 2002 5:01 AM

The top is also holding itself up as an arch... If you were to remove a section of the track at the very top of the top-hat, the two sides would want to fall inwards - toward each other. Since the sides are connected, they "lean" against eachother and stand up... Take, for example, the St. Louis Arch - it is 500' tall and is completly unsupported

*crap, skipper - you beat me by 42 seconds...*

*** This post was edited by kip099 on 4/12/2002. ***

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Friday, April 12, 2002 5:05 AM

You know, I wondered that, but did you see how few supports there are on Silver Star? Granted, many sections have a very deep spine, but we're still talking about box track... sort of. If you look closely at any B&M track you'll notice triangular bends and joints in the spine. If you look at this photo of Mantis, the light catches the triangular shape of the spine really well. I doubt that's even remotely leading to the strength of what Intamin has, where they can obviously go extreme distances without supports. I knew they had something with the long hop over the lagoon on Millennium Force's "Magnum" hill.

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"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Friday, April 12, 2002 5:23 AM

I think those triangles on the B&M spine are there to allow them to form the track... If you were to bend a plain rectangular section like the B&M spine, it would have a tendancy to crumple on the inside face of the bend (buckling). Those triangles would make the box spine act like a bunch of little triangles instead of one big box.

For example (i'm full of examples today...) a soccer ball. If you had one big piece of leather, it couldn't be bent into shape... but by cutting it up into little pentagons, it bends easily.

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Friday, April 12, 2002 6:00 AM

Intamin track is a support itself. It's basically a type of truss or a linear space frame (oxymoron) which uses the load-taking properties of a triangle or several triangles. If you're having trouble seeing that, imagine the track just being the two rails, and the intricate structure under the track as a bridge between each support. So really, Xcellerator's top hat isn't "unsupported", it's entirely supported. Couple the structural properties of a truss with that of an arch, and one has a very strong structure. I think a better example are the Skycoasters at various parks. Ripcord at Cedar Point is a good example...a large truss/arch that takes a lot of dynamic loading. I always wanted to ride the top of a Skycoaster. The only concern I have is how are they resisting outward thrust? Apparently the support towers on the side are able to resist a lot of lateral loading otherwise we'd be seeing flying buttresses on it or something ;-P

B&M's track with the large box spine operates along the same principal as Intamin's track, albeit less efficiently and less strong (stiff). The advantage of Intamin is they can greatly vary the amount of steel in their track...4-rail 'box' track down to the 2-rail kiddie track. B&M could vary the size of the box beam on thier track to acheive the same results. The faceted look of B&M's track is called 'tesselation' and it's the only way to manufacture the track with prescision. When it's all welded together, a tesselated structure is quite strong, like a geodesic dome.

I see Intamin continuing to amaze us with their structural gymnastics and testing our basic judgements about what's safe.

-- Seth (Senior Architecture student, University of Cincinnati, where structural gymnastics are routine in some of our buildings)

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Friday, April 12, 2002 6:19 AM
ucdaap42 - do you realize that in the above post, you used more structural engineering than most architects use in their entire life? What are they teaching you guys at Cincinnati???
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Friday, April 12, 2002 6:38 AM
It is just going to be awesome to watch this thing sway (if any of you are familiar with the Intiman impulses)
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Friday, April 12, 2002 6:51 AM

Ever see the VW commercial with the Roman Aquaducts? Thats why there still around a couple thousand years (plus or minus a couple hundred), but who's counting. Just think, maybe 2000 years from now people will be talking about Xcelerator...Hmmmmmm.......

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Friday, April 12, 2002 7:17 AM

kip, they're teaching us how to be good Architects and understand not only the artistry and theory of architecture, but the realistic applications and solutions. Our structures teacher (for 4 quarters) is a werid, bow-tie wearing structural genius who interned for a small wood coaster company in California back in the 60s, and recently was one of the many local consultants for Son of Beast.

-Seth

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Friday, April 12, 2002 7:25 AM

Coaster Art Guy said:

Ever see the VW commercial with the Roman Aquaducts? Thats why there still around a couple thousand years (plus or minus a couple hundred), but who's counting. Just think, maybe 2000 years from now people will be talking about Xcelerator...Hmmmmmm.......

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Coaster Art of your Favorite Coasters
Coming Soon.....



Slightly off topic but did you know that the aqueduct in that commercial is actually a miniature model. I saw it explained on one of those "how did they do that?" shows.

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Friday, April 12, 2002 8:10 AM
Keep in mind that in addition to the arch/truss structure,this part of the ride will have relatively light loads on this portion of the struture.I am assuming that there will be negative Gs on this part of the ride.Where there needs to be more vertical support is on the bottom of the drops as that is where the coaster train will exert the heaviest loads on the structure.

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I can fix anything.....where is the duct tape?

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