Circular Motion – Carousel
By Jessica Chang
The Midway Carousel is the oldest operating ride at Cedar Point. It was built in 1912 made by Daniel Muller and his brother Alfred. There are sixty horses and four chariots on a large turntable. The horses all use to be jumpers but then the exterior row were later made stationary.
The Pioneer Physics students arrived at Cedar Point early. In fact, the students arrived before most of the park even opened! Thus, some students decided to go on the only ride open, the Midway Carousel. I ran in with a couple of friends and sat on a jumping horse, and waited for the ride to begin. During the wait, my friends and I took pictures of each other. Soon, the carousel began to move so we all grinned and faced forward. I was on the inner horse. I thought that the person sitting the furthest from the center was going faster (though he couldn’t possibly be because we were along the same radius. Also during the duration of the ride, I thought about my sweetheart back in Ann Arbor. I thought, “How romantic this would be if couples actually went on this ride.”
Carousels in general are much slower, but provide a place to see things spinning and a safe area to be around. Since this ride is very mild, in terms of the thrill scale, people may quietly chat about their problems or just hold each other in his/her arms.
The Midway Carousel moves according to circular motion. You have the horses keeping you in the circular path with circular acceleration pointing inwards toward. The outside horses seem to move faster than the inside horses because the translation velocity is much further away from the center of the radius and the distance from center multiplied by the rotational velocity while omega, or rotational velocity is the same along the entire ride. The reason why the faster horses on the outside make the same number of rotations as the horses on the inside because of the fact that the rotational velocity is the same. This is using a very simple Physics property to create a ride of varying speeds for people to chose to ride on so the further out you ride the faster you feel like you are going! Thus if you get dizzy easily then ride on the inside!
The reason why the ride does not go extremely fast like, for example, the Top Thrill Dragster is because of the fact that people need to be strong enough to hold onto the horses. If Cedar Point were to install seats with seat belts into a carousel, they could speed it up like crazy and create a NEW amazing ride. for people to experience the “carousel” for BIG people. But, since it is a family ride they keep it at a relatively slow pace in order for the younger audience to enjoy the thrills of Cedar Point!