Screaming Structures

by Curtis D. Summers, President; Curtis D. Summers, Inc., 7800 Laurel Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45243,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 11, Pg. 40-43

Document Type: Feature article


As any designer of roller coasters will tell you, civil engineering principles put the thrills and screams into roller coasters. There are two basic differences between roller coaster engineering and other civil engineering professions. First and foremost, you are designing to entertain. The designer must keep patrons stationary and comfortable, but in a way that convinces them they're about to fly off the track. Secondly, there is the g force. At any point on the coaster, the rider must stay within the +3.5 to -0.2 g force envelope. Coaster construction is on the rise, especially for wooden coasters. With their clacking rails, wooden coasters add to the all-important design goal of imagined danger.

Subject Headings: Light rail transit | Engineering profession | Coastal engineering | Construction management | Wood construction | Wood

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