Saturday, October 7, 2006

Top Thrill Dragster Redesign Concept - Part 5



First and foremost, if the diameter of the cables was increased in size they would experience less stress since the tensile load would be distributed to a larger area. In order to apply this idea, a new drum would have to be used as well since the grooves cut into the drum are specific to the size of the cables. This could get costly and would have been easiest if incorporated into the original design where only the added cost of the thicker cable would be a factor.

Another way to make the cable more durable would be to use a different material. The material used for the cables is presently a form of steel, and may or may not have been changed since the original cable broke (refer to FAILURE). Using an alternate material could be done without having to replace other components, but once again the cost would increase. The cost to repeatedly replace failing cables coupled with the lost revenue from potential customers who wouldn't be too interested in hopping on a ride that is down with failures suggests that it may be cheaper in the long run to use a stronger and more expensive material.


Frictional wear and tear could be reduced if some kind of lubricant were put in place. This would minimize contact forces among the cables and the drum, but might also present adverse effects. Corrosion from this lubricant could decrease the strength of the cables. Analysis of different kinds of lubrication would need to be performed to see if the reduction in friction would out-weigh the reduced strength of the cables. If so, this would be a relatively cheap and simple way to improve the life and reliability of the part.

Noise Reduction :

A potential problem in hydraulic systems is noise generation. Although they are quieter than pneumatic systems that have air compressors and air filtration units, hydraulic pumps can create noise through small variations in the fluid moving through the pump.

In a roller coaster such as the Dragster, where speeds can reach up to 120mph, any small effort made to improve comfort level will be greatly appreciated by the public, especially in the area of noise generation. Customers ride the Dragster simply for the fun and thrill and are largely unconcerned about the abstract mechanisms of the coaster. Any unwanted noise could potentially raise alarms among them (if not to say that it will bring about a nauseating factor), considering the fact that there have been malfunctions in the past with the system.

3 ways we feel this could be potentially achieved are by :

1. Researching and developing quieter piston systems for the cylinder.

2. Looking at new ways of mounting and housing the system.

3. Designing the hydraulic system to run at low motor speeds without compromise in overall performance of the coaster.

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