How Rollercoasters Work

If you have ever ridden a rollercoaster before, you would be wondering how exactly rollercoasters work. The design and functions of a rollercoaster are so exquisite that they can leave you literally wondering how a rollercoaster works.

Riding a roller coaster is always a bundle of joy even if it is your first time riding it. Roller coasters can be described as rolling elevated railways with tight bends, sharp turns, and steep hills, like those ones seen in amusement parks.

people on rollercoaster

When you are on a roller coaster ride, you make use of an open carriage that often travels in a long line of interconnected carriages that moves up a hill before descending from it. Some roller coasters have loops that turn their passengers upside down or through frightful tunnels.

This whole network of movements contributes to what makes a rollercoaster an amazing ride experience



There are various components that get the rollercoaster working and also help in slowing it down to a stop. Without these components, the rollercoaster as you know it wouldn’t work.


  • Chain Lift

The chain lift is the conventional way most rollercoasters get up to the first hill. The rollercoaster has a network of chains underneath it that pulls it to the top of the hill.

The chain is held tight in a loop around a gear system on top of the track hill and has another supporting gear at the bottom of the hill aiding it.


  • Catapult Launch Lift

Popularly seen in most modern rollercoasters, a catapult launch gets the rollercoaster in motion.

These catapult launches work by building a sustainable momentum of kinetic energy to help propel the rollercoaster in a short period of time.


  • Brakes

What good would a rollercoaster be if it doesn’t have brakes? The brakes are used to stop the rollercoaster at the end of the ride or in the case of an emergency.

In some rollercoaster designs, there are spots on the track where it slows down deliberately, either to build momentum for the next phase or to help gradually bring it to a stop.



As rollercoasters lack engines of their own, a motorized chain is required to lift them up the first steep hill. The roller coaster’s potential energy increases as it ascends higher into the air until it achieves its peak potential energy at the top of the hill.


Gravity takes over as soon as a roller coaster reaches the top of the first significant hill, forcing the ride to descend at a deceleration of 9.8 meters per second squared. All of the potential energy gotten is then converted back into kinetic energy.

The upward-downward movement of the rollercoaster continues throughout the ride until it is brought to a stop by the brakes.

Riding a rollercoaster can be very exciting or terrifying depending on how you look at it, but you can always be sure to enjoy a hell of a ride whenever you get on it.

Don't forget to Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: