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Loop the Loop

Experiment #3 from Vernier Video Analysis: Conservation Laws and Forces

Education Level
High School


A favorite amusement park ride for many is a roller coaster. Modern roller coasters often include a “loop the loop” where the coaster gains speed downhill and then travels through a near-vertical loop. If you were designing a roller coaster, what would you need to consider when creating a loop the loop?

In this activity, you will explore the behavior of a ball traveling in vertical circular motion. You will evaluate the energy transformations required to complete a loop the loop.


  • Use video analysis techniques to obtain position, velocity, and time data for a video of a ball transiting a loop.
  • Use models of energy and energy transformation to evaluate the conservation of energy in this system.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #3 of Vernier Video Analysis: Conservation Laws and Forces. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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