# For a high school physics lab, my group needs to make a roller coaster out of foam pipe insulation.

The coaster must use Newton's laws of motion. The coaster has to have at least three hills, though the first hill cannot be more than 1 metre high off of the surface it is upon. Does anyone have any ideas?

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7 years ago
So the pipe insulation is the track? Are you supposed to roll a marble through it, or have something riding on top of it, or what?

Could they possibly have come up with less user-friendly material for this project? Yikes.
The insulation is the track,  and the vehicle is a ball bearing
7 years ago
OK, so it's more of a marble run than a roller coaster. That makes a little more sense, although the foam is still going to suck a lot of energy out of your system. I think the biggest trick is going to be to work out how to make sure that your hills utilize the energy most efficiently. Jack's idea of making the supports rigid is a great one, and I'd go even further and suggest using some kind of stabilizer along the length of the track as much as possible too. Maybe chopsticks and/or hanger wire duct taped to the underside of the foam. Anything you can think of to reduce friction inside the track would also be good, although I can't think of anything off the top of my head.
For the hills, I'd just experiment with the configuration to see whether your best results happen with steep or gradual drops & rises, and to make sure that your second and third hills are the right height.
Doctor Freeman6 years ago
glue two pieces together and put the marble in like this l l l l l l l l l l l l (technicley its not a hill :) ) l l l l l l l l l l l l thats staright l l < > l l < > l l Thats round < > ________l < > < ____________ hill and straight x3 but on the third put a wall to stop it
6 years ago
im so sorry i had an entire track set up paste it into the reply thingy and it should work
jonny647 years ago
could you put the first hill on a table then have it drop off the table?
My idea is to use a spring or rubberband powered ram to kickstart the coaster and send it on it's way.  That way it demonstrates the third law of motion, and you can get the coaster over all 3 hills.

Next idea is to have the second hill shorter than the first hill, and the third shorter than the second.
steveastrouk7 years ago
What are you aiming to do, is there a competition to win here  ?
Are you forced to use pipe insulation ?
You can't AVOID Newton's laws of motion.....

27723773 (author)  steveastrouk7 years ago
Yes, Yes, and I know...
Jack A Lopez7 years ago
At first I had no idea what was being described, but thanks to Google,