With the large scale of premier roller coasters and the speeds at which they operate, steel comes to mind as the material of choice for construction. But to coaster enthusiasts, the sound and the rough ride of a wooden coaster makes it authentic. An accident on a well-known roller coaster brought the use of wood into question and S-E-A was asked by the state to investigate and evaluate the coaster’s design, construction and the wood itself to find an answer for why the popular ride had failed while in use.
The roller coaster had originally been built from a design by a legendary German ride engineer and designer. Over the years, the huge structure’s tendency to sway had become a concern. A secondary design had proposed stiffening the structure using cables attached to a central point.
While these modifications increased the overall stability of the coaster, they changed the distribution of force and torque on parts of the structure.
When some of the wooden supports split around the bolts which connected them, the track carrying the trains of cars dropped out of alignment suddenly, causing an accident as the cars passed over.
To perform the analysis, S-E-A took the following steps:
S-E-A’s ability to accurately evaluate and recreate accidents relies to some degree on expertise using and combining a broad range of advanced technologies. More importantly, S-E-A engineers operate in specialized multi-disciplinary teams with the deep understanding garnered from extensive field experience within their specialties
S-E-A’s multi-disciplinary teams are a large part of the reason why we have been able to help so many clients. Our scientific methodologies cross all disciplines and our wealth of experience solving a wide range of problems is invaluable in assuring broad perspective and thinking unfettered by familiarity and repetition.