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Clarifications on Roller Coaster

posted Oct 16, 2018, 8:46 PM by Michael Maloney   [ updated Oct 16, 2018, 8:46 PM ]
Clarification 1  (questions under answers)

For the rollercoaster to qualify for the top 4 tiers, it is required for the marble to stay on the track for the entire journey.  If the track is enclosed, I don't see how a judge could properly verify that the marble is staying on the track vs. alternating contact between the track and the enclosure.  Therefore, a rollercoaster with an enclosed track would have to be placed on the 5th scoring tier.  It wouldn't be disqualified, but it will be very unlikely to win.


The students and I were reading over the directions and noticed the requirements do not specify whether or not the marble path can be enclosed.


Clarification 2  (questions under answers)
1. Is it legal to pass the glass marble through a tube such as PVC pipe or plastic tubing?

For the roller coaster to qualify for the top 4 tiers, it is required for the marble to stay on the track for the entire journey.  If the track is covered, then a judge could not properly verify that the marble is staying on the track vs. alternating contact between the track and the top of the tubing.  Therefore, a roller coaster with an enclosed track would have to be placed on the 5th scoring tier.  It wouldn't be disqualified, but it will be very unlikely to win. 

Using tubing or pipe that has been cut in half lengthwise so that you have two concave pieces would be acceptable.

2. Is it legal to place the glass marble on a container/cart while it rolls through the roller coaster, similar to how people ride the roller coaster?

No, the marble must be in direct contact with the track.

3. Is it legal to use other source of energy such as electric energy from motors or pressurized air to move the glass marble?  Or the roller coaster should only be driven by the potential energy generated from dropping it to a height, h?

The roller coaster should be driven by only gravitational potential energy.

4. What are the size requirements and orientation of the features (such as incline, camelback, banked turn, inverted loop) to gain a point (ex.  corkscrew and loop can be very similar and also a 1 cm. tall hill considered a camelback)?

An inverted loop should be mostly vertical as below.
image.png
A corkscrew will have a more horizontal shape as below.
image.png

For the minimum features, the loop will need to resemble the top option.  For features built to qualify for points beyond the minimum, they are both worth the same point value -- I would say each time the marble completes an upside down loop qualifies for the 25 points.

The banked curves should have the surface of the track a minimum of 10 degrees above horizontal.

A minimum 1 cm vertical travel distance (both up and down) is acceptable for the camelback feature.

5. How will our roller coasters be timed ( when does the time starts and when does it stop)?  Lets say for example i put a conveyor belt to bring the marble at a certain height before it drops, will that be included in the total time?

The timing will start when the marble is released at the top of the incline at the beginning of the track.  Time will end when the marble reaches the end of the track.  A device to bring the marble from ground level to the top of the "big hill" is not required and would not be included in the time.

6. Who will provide the marble?  

I will bring marbles, but teams may bring their own as long it is a standard sized glass marble.

1. Is it legal to pass the glass marble through a tube such as PVC pipe or plastic tubing?
2. Is it legal to place the glass marble on a container/cart while it rolls through the roller coaster, similar to how people ride the roller coaster?
3. Is it legal to use other source of energy such as electric energy from motors or pressurized air to move the glass marble?  Or the roller coaster should only be driven by the potential energy generated from dropping it to a height, h?
4. What are the size requirements and orientation of the features (such as incline, camelback, banked turn, inverted loop) to gain a point (ex.  corkscrew and loop can be very similar and also a 1 cm. tall hill considered a camelback)?
5. How will our roller coasters be timed ( when does the time starts and when does it stop)?  Lets say for example i put a conveyor belt to bring the marble at a certain height before it drops, will that be included in the total time?
6. Who will provide the marble?