Wooden vs Steel Roller Coasters

Here is a comparison of lengths and heights for wooden and steel rollercoasters. The line is drawn at a height-to-length ratio of 1:30. Most of the steel coasters are above this line, while most of the wooden roller coasters are below it. Rides constructed in the last few years have been omitted. Only rides with single conventional lifts are included.

Several potential explanations are offered:

1. Steel rollercoasters may (in general) end with more energy at the final brakes than wooden rollercoasters.

2. Steel rollercoasters may lose more energy due to the use of plastic tires.

3. Steel rollercoasters may lose more energy in loops and other elements generally absent from wooden rollercoasters.

(Image: Graph of Height vs Length for Wooden and Steel Roller Coasters)

Content last revised 27-Oct-2004
File last revised 14-Aug-2009

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