Credits: 3


Prerequisite: ENES220, ENES221, and ENME272. And ENME202; or MATH206.
Corequisite: ENME400.
Restriction: Permission of ENGR-Mechanical Engineering department.
Engineering of roller coasters including: specifications, concept creation, structural design, car design, and safety. Course covers biomechanics and rider kinematics as well as manufacturing aspects.

Semesters Offered

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Learning Objectives

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.

Topics Covered

  • 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

Additional Course Information


Thamire, Chandra


None required.

Supplemental materials: Notes for design of mechanical elements.

Class/Laboratory Schedule 

  • Two 75 minute lectures per week
Last Updated By 
Chandrasekhar Thamire, June 2017