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Roller Coaster type loop thing

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Alright, I''m trying to better understand how a roller coaster might work as it relates to Centripetal force. I''m wondering what forces provide the centripetal force for a rollercoaster going around a loop. I know that at the top of the loop gravity provides the centripetal force, but what provides the centripetal force when the coaster is completely vertical during the loop, and when the coaster is flat on the ground of the loop. (At first I thought that the normal force provided the centripetal force while the coaster was on the ground. This however didn''t seem to work out in my calculations, b/c the velocity of the coaster at the bottom is much greater than the velocity at the top of the loop.) If anyone could help me I''d greatly appreciate it. --BioX

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The centripetal force is the force that keeps the roller coaster train moving in a circle instead of flying off in a straight line, so I believe that it''s a combination of gravity (for the lower half of the loop) and the "normal force" of the track. To change your coaster''s velocity appropriately, you have to modify it according to how much energy is lost in overcoming the force of gravity to go around the loop in the first place.

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