Actually, there is a lot of information on the web
about roller coasters- including buildable
simulations. First the Web sites:
http://www.yahoo.com and query:
To answer your specific
questions-- Early roller coasters were invariably
built out of wood with steel rail tracks. This
lead to a fun high-speed ride -- but the train
could not be inverted.
I don't know about
magnetic roller coasters -- all that I have seen
rely on captured rails (i.e. the wheels surround
both sides of the rail. Magnetism is used in the
motors that drive a coaster -- typically, the
coaster is in free-fall coast unless it must climb
a large hill. Most commonly, there is a motor
driver chain cogging assembly to lift the train up
the hill -- where it 'coasts' back
Most of the modern coasters use
polyurethane wheels to minimize noise and friction
loss, and use rails made of cylinderical pipe
which can be entrapped by the wheel system so the
train cannot leave the tracks -- even if it is
stopped upside-down. Also, several new designs use
a single main track, to allow swinging action --
freeing up another degree of freedom.
might try to build a simulation of a new
super-roller coaster using the tools on the first
web site -- maybe you'll design the roller coaster
of the future...
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