ENME 406 - Roller Coaster Engineering

3 Credits



None required.

Supplemental materials: Notes for design of mechanical elements.


ENME 272
ENME 361


Engineering of roller coasters. Specification. Concept creation. Structural design. Car design. Safety. Biomechanics and rider kinematics. Manufacturing aspects.


Through the content presented in this course, we intend to introduce you to the design of roller coasters. You will learn the design methodology through lectures and team assignments. We will begin the class reviewing some of the dynamics concepts necessary for roller coasters, and follow them up with general mechanical design concepts.  We will go through kinematics and dynamics of the ride elements and riders, braking concepts, power-transmission design, frame design, and car design next, followed by biomechanical aspects, design of safety elements, and design of common machine elements used in roller coasters.  Team projects in this course will involve coming up with your own roller-coaster design and a working prototype that will satisfy the specification provided, safety aspects, and health aspects, while incorporating thrill elements of your choice.


  • Roller-coaster kinematics and dynamics
  • Design of typical layouts
  • Scaling concepts
  • Design of common transmission systems
  • Design of common braking systems
  • Design of key mechanical components
  • Design of frames (in subsections)
  • Design of cars and couplings
  • Biomechanical and safety aspects of the rides
  • Manufacturing aspects and cost analysis

Learning Outcomes 

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  • an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

Class/Laboratory Schedule 

  • Two 75 minute lectures per week

Last Updated By 
Chandrasekhar Thamire, June 2017