2022–23 Project III

Roller coaster

Theme park physics


What is your favourite theme park ride? The tower of terror? The space mountain rollercoaster? The teacups?

Theme park rides offer customers an exciting and exhilarating illusion of danger in a controlled environment. Making rides as thrilling as possible while keeping members of the public safe is the challenge of theme park ride designers.

In this project, we will mathematically model the 3D motion of these rides and consider their effects on the human body.

How we might structure the the project

At the start, we could have something like:

  • Using mechanics to model the motion of the tower of terror
  • Determining how fast you can spin teacups while keeping control
  • Researching what sort of rollercoaster designs currently exist and determining if there are other designs that could work
  • Deciding how to represent 3D motion along a path


This is an applied maths project with its basis in Newtonian mechanics.

You may also have to do a bit of practical coding. You should therefore have some familiarity with Python, but you do not have to be a numerical analysis expert.