There is no amusement park ride that produces the ultimate adrenalin rush in all of its passengers better than a roller coaster ride does.
Modern roller coaster designs require both creativity and rigid adherence to regulations that ensure high quality standards, which guarantee the safety of the roller coaster ride even when equipment may malfunction.
Whilst ensuring that safety comes first in all designs, engineers need to also keep in mind that structural details and construction related issues have a significant influence on the final cost-benefit analysis for the roller coaster manufacturer.
The development of a new roller coaster track is affected by a number of factors such as:
Engineers will normally need to evaluate a number of different designs, only one of which will result in the final construction configuration. This is why numerical simulation plays an indispensible role in roller coaster design.
With over 20 years of experience in the design and structural verification of roller coasters, at EnginSoft we work closely with our customers to help them improve their design and verification procedures. As an example we have jointly developed an integrated CAD-CAE procedure, which allows engineers to efficiently create a virtual roller coaster prototype, for one of our long time customers Ride Tek Engineering. With this tailor-made procedure the customer is able to generate prototypes of tracks within an integrated 3D CAD-CAE environment, providing immediate assessment of its consequences on cars or users in terms of longitudinal, transverse and normal accelerations. For example, the procedure allows them to adjust the banking angle to mitigate effects on passengers or to improve constructability related to industrial calendering operations.
The complexity of a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) model used for analysis and verification of a roller coaster design can vary. In many cases the use of beam and shell models are generally sufficient to investigate stress and strain in structures and components. In cases where a deeper detail analysis is required Finite Element Brick models can be also developed. Design code checks are performed according to recognized international standards (e.g. DIN 4112, EN13814 and related codes) and must guarantee sufficiently high safety levels for end users, with particular reference to structural details that minimize the occurrence of fatigue cracks.
Software tools for roller coaster analysis and design must include the following features:
A well designed roller coaster numerical model should provide:
The use of such a model can substantially reduce the time to market for roller coasters, because far fewer physical prototype models need to be built.
Within the context of this type of integrated design, EnginSoft is your ideal partner for the development of tailor-made applications and procedures. Our consultancy spans the analysis of the structural response for the entire structure, as well as the cars, to the definition of fatigue checks of structural details performed in accordance with stringent and field-specific regulations.
At this particular moment in time, this article wishes to reflect on the evolution of CAE and simulation in an effort to present a big-picture view when most of us are daily dealing with all the devil in the details in every aspect of our lives. We approached some long-standing business friends in engineering simulation from various regions around the world to help us in this task
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