Question – What forms of energy are used to run rides and which rides do they run? What kind of special energy equipment is used?
Good question, the type of energy used on a ride is usually changing as it is used. Most rides use electrical energy but the electrical energy is converted to other forms of energy using a motor. The motors push or pull the vehicles, creating energy of motion, called kinetic energy. If the motor pulls the vehicle up the hill, maybe using a lift chain, we say that the vehicle has acquired “potential energy” because it is now higher, and can roll back down hill. When the vehicle rolls down the hill, it loses potential energy and gains kinetic energy. Finally, when it comes to rest in a brake, some of the train’s kinetic energy becomes thermal energy as the brakes are heated. On some rides, so much thermal energy is captured in the brakes that water is constantly fed to the brakes to keep them from being damaged from the heat.