Defying Gravity!

Whilst learning about rollercoasters in Year 5, we have been wondering how people are able to go against gravity at great speeds during a loop-the-loop.

The teachers used the example of spinning a bucket of water around our heads. Without momentum and enough kinetic energy, the water falls out once the bucket is tipped (as TJA found out!). However, if we build momentum and use enough kinetic energy to create a loop, the water stays within the bucket, even upside down!

We learned that centripetal force is what keeps the bucket drawn towards the centre of it’s loop and centrifugal force is what pushes the water away from the centre and against the bottom of the bucket.

These are the same forces you would feel during a loop-the-loop and you might even feel these forces sometimes when you go fast around a corner/roundabout in a car.