Loops, Bumps and Dives: The Physics of Rollercoaster Rides


- Ask audience if they've been on rollercoasters/what's the best things about them
- Hopefully get (amongst some bizarre answers) thrill factor, speed and loops the loops
- Brief history of rollercoaster (the interesting bits) and some interesting examples
- Rollercoaster videos (link with the above)
- Talk about energy conservation: first rollercoasters go high, the higher they go the more speed they can pick up
- Loose energy when they go round due to friction (get audience to rub their hands together to generate heat)
- Add some more fun to the rollercoasters by adding loop the loops
- Talk about why you don't fall out when you go upside down - not just because of the harness
- Demonstrate by swinging a bucket of water round (or maybe of video of if it's hard to do)
- Need to think about the safety of rollercoasters. Talk about the G force, dangers of it and astronauts.
- Is there a best place to sit on a rollercoaster?
- Throughout the talk use some model rollercoaster tracks made from pipe installation foam and shoot marbles down them. Use a video if possible to show this on the screen. Can have children volunteers to help out with this.

Risk Assessment
Date risk assesment last checked: 
Mon, 03/02/2020
Risk assesment checked by: 
Date risk assesment double checked: 
Tue, 04/02/2020
Risk assesment double-checked by: 
Beatrix Huissoon
Risk Assessment: 
Hazard Risk Affected Person(s) Likelihood Severity Overall Mitigation Likelihood Severity Overall
Description/Videos of Rollercoasters Audience members becoming nauseous. All 2 2 4 Warn the audience at the start of the talk. Do not show any videos that are intentionally nauseating. 1 2 2
Friction demonstration Children injuring their hands when rubbing them together over excitedly Public 2 2 4 Don't leave the audience rubbing their hands together for too long. 1 2 2
Swinging bucket of water Someone could be hit by the bucket. All 3 4 12 Make sure no one is standing near when the bucket is being swung and do not swing in the direction of anybody. Use a small plastic bucket as opposed to a large metal one. Do not fill with too much water as this makes the bucket heavy. Hold the bucket with a sturdy grip. 1 3 3
Water in bucket Slip hazard and electrical hazard when spilt All 4 3 12 Have towels and mop to hand. A little bit of water is expected to be spilt - a talk assistant should be on hand to clear up immediately after the demonstration. Do not use a huge amount of water - use about equiv. to a bottle of water. Before and after use, leave the bucket of water out of the way so it is unlikely to be knocked over. Do not demonstrate too close to people. Do not swing the bucket too close to electrical equipment. 2 3 6
Water in Bucket Wet demonstrator due to failure to swing the bucket fast enough Demonstrator 3 2 6 Don't use that much water - about the equivalent of a bottle of water should be enough. Practice how fast it needs to be swung before doing it for the public. 2 2 4
Model rollercoaster structure made from foam piping, cups and makeshift supports (e.g. books and boxes) Structure could collapse and cause blunt force injuries. All 3 3 9 Secure structure with tape. Make sure structure is secure before starting demonstration. Foam piping is light so even if that part of the structure collapses it shouldn't cause any injury. 2 2 4
Model rollercoaster structure made from foam piping, cups and makeshift supports (e.g. books and boxes) Trapped fingers/cuts from sharp edges All 3 2 6 Supervise children when they put marbles on the rollercoaster. Make sure there are no sharp edges. 2 2 4
Marbles Slip hazard if dropped All 3 3 9 Pick up any dropped marbles immediately. 2 3 6
Marbles Choking Hazard Public 2 5 10 Do not give marbles to small children and don't let any children walk away with the marbles. Dropped marbles should be picked up immediately. 1 5 5
Filming of Audience Volunteers Members of the audience that come up to the front will be filmed by the main CBS camera(s) and also potentially any cameras looking at the model rollercoasters themselves. Not all audience members will want this - e.g. for safeguarding reasons. Public 2 3 6 It will be made clear to the audience at the start of the talk and through signs that the talk is being recorded. It will be explicitly mentioned at the start of the talk that any particpants that come to the front will be on the recording - and by doing so you are saying you're happy with this. 1 3 3
This experiment contains mains electrical parts, see separate risk assessment.