loops that excite riders are made possible by steel construction.
Engineers carefully calculate not only the angles and gravity
forces that the human body can tolerate but also where these
forces must be centered in order to keep passengers securely
in their seats. Courtesy of Arrow Dynamics, Inc.
A Case Study
all creative individuals--do not think in just one mode; they apply
their imaginations and skills in many different directions at the
same time. One of the best examples of this creative synthesis is
the design of roller coasters, which incorporates a wide range of
engineering specialties and capabilities in pursuit of a unique
combination of fun and safety. Modern coaster design incorporates
every possible technical innovation into a context that constantly
beckons to the imagination.
The first modern roller
coaster appeared in the 1880s at Coney Island, New York. Since then,
hundreds have been built around the world, in a wide range of styles,
materials, and sizes. After declining for some years following World
War II, the art of roller coaster design has staged a spectacular
revival in the 1980s and 90s. One of the leaders of this revival
is the Utah firm of Arrow Dynamics, which traces its beginnings
to the design of the first roller coaster at Disneyland, the Matterhorn
Bobsled, in 1959.
Arrow Dynamics is now
headed by mechanical engineer Ron Toomer, who joined the firm in
1965. He and his team have designed nearly a hundred coasters, pioneering
some of the most famous modern innovations, such as the corkscrew
turn, multiple loops, standing coasters, and suspended coasters.
Arrow's coasters incorporate modern lightweight materials, electronic
controls, finite-element computer aided design, aerodynamics, mechanical
systems, structural innovations, and even expertise from psychology