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The Physics Behind Waterslides

samzenpus posted 1 year,17 days | from the slide-science dept.

Entertainment 79

theodp writes "National Geographic takes a high-level look at the physics behind waterslides. A lot of science goes into providing a safe 60 mph trip down slides like Walt Disney World's 10-story Summit Plummet. 'Safety is our number one concern,' explains Rick Hunter of ProSlide Technology. 'We're thinking about things like, "are you going to stay on the fiberglass tube," it's really easy to do a computer model and look at curves and drops and forecast rider position and speed.'"

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79 comments

Just curious (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44215641)

How many slashdotters have been to a water park recently, and by water park you can include a shower.

Re:Just curious (1)

geekmux (1040042) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215895)

How many slashdotters have been to a water park recently, and by water park you can include a shower.

Perhaps the more relevant question here would be to ask how many of those engineers who claim it's "really easy" to model these rides have taken a turn on their own creations...

Re:Just curious (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216557)

I'd be more interested in knowing how many of them engineer their slides to improve the odds of a bikini coming off mid-slide. And where I can find the works of said engineers. To observe. For science.

Re:Just curious (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44217429)

I'd be more interested in knowing how many of them engineer their slides to improve the odds of a bikini coming off mid-slide. And where I can find the works of said engineers. To observe. For science.

Sexual orientation be damned, the inadvertent removal of clothing, or at minimum, the always-entertaining "wedgie", should be the secondary goal, right behind ensuring the rider lives long enough to survive the YouTube onslaught. For social science of course.

Re:Just curious (3, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | 1 year,17 days | (#44217985)

"Perhaps the more relevant question here would be to ask how many of those engineers who claim it's "really easy" to model these rides have taken a turn on their own creations..."

Exactly this. Due to my somewhat light weight/height ratio, I tend to spend more than half of my time down a water slide without any contact on any of the surfaces.

Several parks I've visited, I've come out with a bruised ass afterwards due to crappy physics calculations. It's as if the slide designers are all fat and are using themselves as the reference point for design.

Re:Just curious (4, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215927)

Does googling the term "water sports" count?

Re:Just curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44218869)

Only if it gets you wet...

Re:Just curious (4, Interesting)

swb (14022) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216689)

How many water park visitors use the fucking shower before going to the water park?

We went to the local amusement park here in the Twin Cities last summer and because my brother in law doesn't like rides, part of the deal was going to the water park.

About a week and a half later my foot was killing me -- it looked like I had some kind of sore on my toe. I went to the doctor and he was like "Wow, that's a bad one.." explaining I had a serious infection. He used a sharpie to draw a line around my shin and showed me the infection, telling me that "we don't want it to get to this line...if it does, you'll have to go to the hospital." I got both an injection of antibiotics AND a 10 prescription of something strong.

I explained the water park visit and he said "yeah, you probably had a small cut in your skin when you were there..." And so that's how you end up with MRSA.

While I like the idea of water parks (I love to swim, dive, jump, etc), I always worry about the cleanliness of the water itself as well as the surrounding areas and the patrons.

I might do a Disney water park with my son in the future, but anyplace else they're going to have to really convince me they keep the water clean and the rest of the surroundings clean (ie, 200F chlorine pressure washing).

Re:Just curious (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44218009)

Wear footware (flip-flops, etc).

Re:Just curious (4, Informative)

Z_A_Commando (991404) | 1 year,17 days | (#44218197)

Having worked at a water park, I can tell you that they primarily keep the water clean by constantly upping the levels of chlorine and other chemicals. However, it depends on the attraction. Some attractions like slides and flume rides are emptied every night or every week for inspections. A big example is Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. They drain the water every night and pump it out to a treatment facility. New water is pumped in from a retaining pond just outside of the attraction.

Some attractions, such as large wave pools, can't be drained and refilled overnight and instead are typically drained during the off season or during refurbishment only. However, these attractions are constantly having new water added because of evaporation and because some water is drained as it passes through various filters and cleansing agents. An extreme example would be Schlitterbahn, where they siphon part of a river into their park and the water runs through once before exiting back into the river without recirculation. Of course, treatment is done when the water comes in and when the water leaves so it's safe to swim in and safe for the environment.

The most likely source of infection from a waterpark are areas where water does not circulate effectively and thus does not pass through the filters. This is why waterparks have tons of moving water and very little (if any) standing water. Of course, MRSA is also a tough bugger to fight. If you were actually diagnosed with MRSA and your doctor believes you got it while visiting a waterpark, I recommend you contact your state board of health so that it can be taken care of. Waterparks have tons of reporting they need to do, but most of it revolves around chemical levels. Knowing they may have MRSA in the water will result in extra precautions and a more thorough investigation. Blood borne pathogens are not something waterparks take lightly.

Re:Just curious (1)

swb (14022) | 1 year,16 days | (#44219251)

I wasn't told specifically it was MSRA, but was told it was a "very serious infection that needed monitoring" which is why he used a Sharpie on my leg.

I'm pretty sure whatever infection came not from the water (which of course smelled like a direct tap from the bleach plant) but from the surrounding decking areas and locker room. I tried to walk in dry areas and keep my shoes on as much as possible in the locker room, but apparently not enough.

I actually worry less about the water, because as you say, they treat the hell out of it and most of it keeps moving to keep it filtered/treated/etc. It's all those wet areas you have to walk through.

Strangely, we've had season passes at the community pool for years and never had a problem, but I also think the water park at the amusement park had a different demographic than the pool we go to, plus I was either in the pool or on a lounge, and otherwise I wore my crocs.

Re:Just curious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44220357)

Different demographic, huh? Niggers? We have that problem at Oceans of Fun in Kansas City.

Re:Just curious (1)

swb (14022) | 1 year,16 days | (#44226133)

No, it wasn't a racial comment. In terms of sheer volume, there were kind of a lot of low-rent people.

Re:Just curious (1)

Shavano (2541114) | 1 year,16 days | (#44222237)

However, these attractions are constantly having new water added because of evaporation and because some water is drained as it passes through various filters and cleansing agents. An extreme example would be Schlitterbahn, where they siphon part of a river into their park and the water runs through once before exiting back into the river without recirculation. Of course, treatment is done when the water comes in and when the water leaves so it's safe to swim in and safe for the environment.

At Schlitterbahn some of the slides eject you and the water directly into the river. Treatment in that case consists of filtering out fish and turtles and blind salamanders on the inlet side and filtering out humans and stray bikinis on the other end. There is no treatment of the water in this case. But that's OK because the water was in the Edwards aquifer half an hour before it went in the top of the slide. It's momentarily exposed to your comparatively filty body and then goes back in the river. The water in the Comal river is already more than safe to swim in with no treatment at all. Where it comes up out of the aquifer in Landa Park, it's safe to drink, too. Other parts of the park use treated water because they recirculate it.

Re:Just curious (1)

IonOtter (629215) | 1 year,16 days | (#44220455)

It probably wasn't MRSA.

1. You're still alive.
2. You still have your leg.
3. The infection didn't advance past the Sharpie.

MRSA, also known as the "flesh-eating bacteria" doesn't give up so easily.

I've had several infections in my shins, and they're a bitch to get rid of, because I have Compartment Syndrome, and poor circulation in that area. The doc has to nuke the bugs with high doses for a full two weeks, which means my guts get wiped out too.

Ugh!

Re:Just curious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44216713)

Probably many. You come to a point where you just don't give a fuck anymore, and being practically nude around a lot of practically nude girls is the only sex you'll get.

Then you deliberately go to a water park *because* you're not fit to go out into the daylight. The more people stare, the harder you'll cum later.

Fucked-up? Maybe.
Are you gonna miss out on thinly covered wet jiggling tits and asses? HELL NO. Even if it's the last thing you'll ever do!

Unless you become gay and regularly prepare your anus. (You already have the mental image. No need to link to any Goatse. ;)

Re:Just curious (2)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,17 days | (#44217299)

Standing in long lines of gross half-naked families (and probably babies and toddlers with shitty diapers) in 90-105 degree weather for five seconds of streaking down a chute of water isn't exactly an exciting way to waste a day.

Re:Just curious (1)

desertfool (21262) | 1 year,16 days | (#44219819)

I was at a water park/resort in the Wisconsin Dells for the better part of last week. Not only does my kid enjoy it, but I enjoy it as well. It gets tiring continually climbing 3 or 4 flights of stairs, but it is well worth it.

And bikinis. Lots of bikinis. I think I got whiplash.

I had sex on a waterslide once (0, Offtopic)

magic maverick (2615475) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215657)

Sex on waterslides is not recomneded. Though if you can time the climax for when you are in the air at the bottom of the 'slide ...
If you want to give it a go, fuck a bit before you get on the 'slide, and then continue on it.

I've got nothing further to contribute. Cheers.

Re:I had sex on a waterslide once (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44216285)

"I've got nothing to contribute."

Fixed that for you

Shouldn't that be "The Engineering Behind..."? (4, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215711)

> the physics behind waterslides

Shouldn't that be "The Engineering Behind..."?

> National Geographic

Well...at least the article will feature some topless photos.

Re:Shouldn't that be "The Engineer's Behind"? (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215753)

After all, part of the practical side of testing these things would have to be making sure patrons don't get fiberglass in the butt.

Re:Shouldn't that be "The Engineer's Behind"? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216299)

Some people would pay extra for that

Re:Shouldn't that be "The Engineer's Behind"? (2)

TeknoHog (164938) | 1 year,16 days | (#44219685)

Nice pun. I'm just wondering how the average Slashdotter will parse a correctly placed apostrophe...

Re:Shouldn't that be "The Engineering Behind..."? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44216015)

Shouldn't that be "The Engineering Behind..."?

Depends, is the traveler a spherical shaped object with the same density as water or is the traveler cylindrical with enough margin added to handle the difference?

Re:Shouldn't that be "The Engineering Behind..."? (1)

Antipater (2053064) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216143)

> the physics behind waterslides

Shouldn't that be "The Engineering Behind..."?

Eh, the article still works as intended. Fill out a non-conformance report and call it a day.

Re:Shouldn't that be "The Engineering Behind..."? (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216573)

Engineering is just applied physics, with some wiggle room for tolerances and a fair bit of guessing.

Re:Shouldn't that be "The Engineering Behind..."? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44217649)

And physics is just applied math, with some wiggle room for approximations and a fair bit of guessing. So I guess the article should have really been, "The Math Behind Waterslides".

(But seriously, the 'just applied X' phrase can get pretty old, pretty fast).

Re:Shouldn't that be "The Engineering Behind..."? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44222979)

Physicist here.

If you think physics "is just applied math" then you don't understand physics...or even engineering for that matter. Mathematics is merely a tool for the physicist. A b very important tool I'll add, but still a tool nonetheless. There is a lot of maths that makes no physical sense so another tool is the ability to know when the maths makes sense and applies to the situation and when it doesn't.

Engineering literally *IS* applied physics and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Many engineers are well versed in physics and these are amongst the noblest members of the profession but physics is not merely applied maths. There's no experimentation or hypothesising in maths that I know of and since I am a physicist by training, surely I should know.

Re:Shouldn't that be "The Engineering Behind..."? (1)

Barsteward (969998) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216801)

At that height and speed do they take the extra slipperiness of shitting yourself all the way down into account?

Action Park looping water slide (4, Interesting)

BenJeremy (181303) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215743)

Just learned about this.... legendary for injuries. I'd guess physics had far less to do with the design than lots of beer and whiskey.

Action Park might be better known to you East Coast Slashdotters as "Traction Park", "Accident Park", or "Class Action Park" and closed in 1996 after 18 years and 5 fatalities.

Re:Action Park looping water slide (5, Interesting)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215969)

I never did get to visit that park as a kid. Weird NJ has a ton of stories on their site about that place. The slides were dangerous simply because they didn't have past data or computer modeling (that the OP talks about) when designing them, so they winged it and called the park's attractions "extreme". Some of the slides survive in Action Park's successor, Mountain Creek. The looping water slide didn't make the cut though.

Re:Action Park looping water slide (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44216387)

Here is a good photo for you all...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Action_Park_looping_water_slide.jpg

Re:Action Park looping water slide (5, Interesting)

RedShoeRider (658314) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216559)

I visited that Park. A lot Grew up about 45 minutes away from there. Had friends who "lifeguarded" there.

A little bit of background for everyone: the park was located in Vernon, New Jersey (USA), built into the side of a small mountain, hence it's successor's name being Mountain Creek. It was a combination water park / Ski resort, depending on the time of the year.

Perhaps one of the best ways to think about this place is to imagine your favourite water park, saying to yourself "Gee, that ride is great, but I wish I could do...blah...which is prohibited by the rules and the lifeguards would throw me out.". Now imagine that same situation, except that there was no getting thrown out and no one cared about the rules. It was the inmates running the asylum a lot of times. Sure, it made it a metric ton of fun, but the injuries were often severe. Broken legs, dislocated everything, electrocutions....the ambulance was in very frequent use in that place. Some of it was the ride design, as the safeguards and engineering just weren't there. The rest....well, for insance, they had a "Cliff Dive". It was just that....a rocky outcropping about 35' above the main pool. They had weight restrictions, height restrictions, warnings about this and that....and it was all roundly ignored. The lifeguards were supposed to keep the landing area clear, but sometimes they screwed up and damn near had one person landing on another. Oh, and they warned you not to straight dive in, as you could theoretically hit the bottom. Theory, my ass. You could do it pretty easily. As I said....the engineering wasn't. They ran that park cheap, charged a decent amount for admission, and smiled all the way to the bank.

But, as bad as it was, there were hundreds of thousands of folks who came though there with little more than a smile and some sunburn. For a grabasstic teenager, it was a Paradise.

Re:Action Park looping water slide (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44215993)

I actually miss 'Accident Park' as we referred to it. Trying to go down Alpine Slide as fast as you can and seeing if you can not fall off the cart and rip up your skin. Then watch your cart continue down the hill without you... The memories.

Re:Action Park looping water slide (1)

apcullen (2504324) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216033)

The park is re-opened now and is called Mountain Creek. And No, the looping water slide is not open. Nor is the famous Alpine Slide that was responsible for so many skinned .

I LOVED that place back in the day. It was TOTALLY NOT SAFE. That was much of the park's appeal, and of course, its downfall.

Re:Action Park looping water slide (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | 1 year,16 days | (#44219009)

I'll never forget the time my father came off the Alpine slide and literally melted his pants to his legs. Nobody ever paid attention to the "slow" signs.

Re:Action Park looping water slide (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44218371)

I was at a restaurant overlooking a water slide in Hampton Beach, NH. The rider would come off the slide pretty much tangential to the top of a pool, and skip and skim along the water until they lost enough momentum to sink. Watching some large kids and small adults come off it, I said to my wife "Wow, that pool isn't really long enough. A large adult coming off that thing would hit the wall before they came to a stop." Two weeks later: fatality.

Re:Action Park looping water slide (1)

demonlapin (527802) | 1 year,16 days | (#44221657)

AKA: you're always responsible for saving your own ass. If you are going to come near the far side, fall off. I've come within a few feet of the end of one of those things before and planned to jump if I got to the last third of the pool with much momentum.

Re:Action Park looping water slide (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | 1 year,16 days | (#44218953)

That was exactly the first thing that came to mind for me. I loved that place, though.

/Thread (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44215783)

Gravity

Re:/Thread (1)

xmousex (661995) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215875)

seriously that is exactly what i thought reading the title, theres matter in liquid form and gravity so what, but i clicked on it hoping that there was new innovation in video cards.

this outdoors shit...

How cum disney has a For Jews Only slide (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44215803)

and how cum it has no water at the bottom?

How come Disney has a "For Jews Only" slide? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44215835)

and how come it has no water at the bottom?

FTFY

Well, they certainly have a lot of experts (3, Funny)

emag (4640) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215879)

So we turned to some experts: the people who design water parks rides, a physicist with three small children, and two 14-year-old twins who are self-described "water park enthusiasts."

So, a couple teens, a dad whose specialty is particle physics, and the actual people who design the slides. Glad someone has some actual experience...

Explain This (1)

a_big_favor (2550262) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215921)

"We know from Galileo that all objects near the surface of the Earth accelerate downward at the same rate," he says. "But you also have to think about air resistance. That's why a bowling ball and a piece of paper don't fall at the same rate. You accelerate at a certain rate, but the force that's pulling you down depends on that number and your mass."

Everyone knows this. But then...

As for rides with steep drops instead of curves, heavier riders do go faster, he says.

Now I am confused. Is this assuming heavy riders have more friction with the slide/water or more air resistance or that Newtonian Physics can suck a fat one?

Re:Explain This (2)

radiumsoup (741987) | 1 year,17 days | (#44215961)

Now I am confused. Is this assuming heavy riders have more friction with the slide/water or more air resistance or that Newtonian Physics can suck a fat one?

You assume he's assuming it. Perhaps he has measured the effect?

Re:Explain This (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44215967)

It's assuming that heavier objects have more inertia, and so are affected by air resistance less.

Re:Explain This (5, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216013)

"We know from Galileo that all objects near the surface of the Earth accelerate downward at the same rate," he says. "But you also have to think about air resistance. That's why a bowling ball and a piece of paper don't fall at the same rate. You accelerate at a certain rate, but the force that's pulling you down depends on that number and your mass."

Everyone knows this. But then...

As for rides with steep drops instead of curves, heavier riders do go faster, he says.

Now I am confused. Is this assuming heavy riders have more friction with the slide/water or more air resistance or that Newtonian Physics can suck a fat one?

Heavy riders experience less relative resistance, since an object (er, a human's) mass increases faster than the area in contact with the slide. Same goes for wind resistance but i suspect it plays a smaller role.

Re:Explain This (1)

toygeek (473120) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216585)

Yep, and that sums up how this fatso (a fat slashdotter? Say it isn't so!) on an underinflated (extra bouncy) tube went down a ride, got flipped around and over and landed on his face, breaking the upper jaw under the right nostril and losing two teef. Three surgeries, two implants and a year of missing teeth later, I won't go near a water park. I returned once with my family to the park (not ride) where I got hurt (hey, it was a true accident and they made it right and paid through the teeth for my injuries- pun intended) and I went on one ride and came off white as a sheet (which was not easy to do, considering my slashdot-backround-white pasty complexion) and vowed to never touch one again. And, I haven't. Have an aversion to moving water now, actually.

The physics of these rides work under controlled conditions. Put teenagers in control (although not an issue in my case) and leaky floating tubes on a high speed ride, people get hurt.

Re:Explain This (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216761)

Also, Galileo is actually wrong. The force of gravity between two objects is a function of BOTH objects' mass. It just so happens that the planet masses so much more than a person that we tend to set the person's mass to 0.

Re:Explain This (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44217151)

That doesn't contradict what Galileo said, the force is proportional to both masses, but the acceleration cancels out that contribution from object under consideration. So there is a constant acceleration for a given position, with possibly some slight inaccuracies depending on what frame you are considering. It has nothing to do with setting the mass of one object to zero.

Re:Explain This (2)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | 1 year,17 days | (#44217329)

Inertial mass(F=m a) and gravitational mass(F=G M m/r^2) are the same so they cancel out of the equation, there is no approximation here. Setting the mass to zero either leads to infinite acceleration or no gravitational force.

Re:Explain This (1)

lgw (121541) | 1 year,16 days | (#44218667)

But then that's merely Newton. In general relativity, it's not just coincidence that the mass of the satellite cancels: it's simply not a factor - regardless of mass you move along spacetime geodesics when in freefall.
 

Re:Explain This (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | 1 year,17 days | (#44217269)

I was taught that friction is not dependent on surface area, just the normal force and the surfaces' friction coefficient. That might all be irrelevant with a lubricating layer of water underneath.

Re:Explain This (2)

swillden (191260) | 1 year,17 days | (#44217437)

The coefficient of friction usually changes with the contact area.

Re:Explain This (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,16 days | (#44219951)

I bet you were taught more then the first order approximation. Perhaps you just don't remember it.

Re:Explain This (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44220447)

Taught more of what before the first order approximation?

Re:Explain This (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,16 days | (#44220521)

Find someone who's first language is English. They can explain it to you.

Re:Explain This (0)

Type44Q (1233630) | 1 year,17 days | (#44217815)

Now I am confused.

It's quite simple: on the moon, they wouldn't. Any questions?

Re:Explain This (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44220027)

This effect also applies to bicycles, if you want to test it just go for a bike ride with someone who weighs significantly more/less than you and the heavier person will accelerate faster downhill if neither person pedals. I'm not sure how much of the effect is difference in wind resistance and how much is due to the rolling resistance, but I've noticed it while cycling with my 9yo daughter.

Re:Explain This (1)

crakbone (860662) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216123)

The heavier the rider the more inertia is gained for the parts of the ride without the large drops.

Re:Explain This (1)

cdrudge (68377) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216275)

The opposite is true too. The heaver the rider the slower inertia is gained during those drops.

Re:Explain This (1)

crakbone (860662) | 1 year,16 days | (#44227583)

If I'm wrong please correct me. But from what I understand gravity is a constant 32.2 ft per second per second. Based on average body sizes wind resistance would be negligible. So any mass would accelerate at a rate of 32.2 ft per second per second. And force equals mass times acceleration. So the potential energy in a object would be greater for the larger mass. This would overcome natural resistance in the areas without large drops and cause greater acceleration through the tunnels.

Staying on the Tube (5, Insightful)

darthservo (942083) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216003)

...slides like Walt Disney World's 10-story Summit Plummet...'We're thinking about things like, "are you going to stay on the fiberglass tube,"

Personally, I found Blizzard Beach's Slush Gusher (the slide adjacent to Summit Plummet) to be more unsettling during the descent. While Summit Plummet is fast, you don't really get to see much on your way down and it's over in a matter of seconds. The Slush Gusher levels out twice during descent along a straight path. After I'd reached enough speed by the 3rd drop, my body had left the fiberglass tube. I'm sure they're more concerned with exiting either side of the tube while descending, but when you're not expecting it to happen it is the slightest bit disconcerting to feel the slide 'leave', even for a moment.

Re:Staying on the Tube (2)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216343)

How heavy are you? I know some of the tube slides at BB tend to cause hydroplaning problems with people too light to properly break the water's surface tension. Perhaps your level of inertia is causing your airborne lift.

Re:Staying on the Tube (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44216837)

Wat? Why the hell does the tube not have a roof?

All tube water slides around here are full tubes, not half-pipes, and not even with additional "wings" in curves. Fully. Closed.

Exactly because of what you describe.

Also, we usually did the "3-staged rocket", where the heaviest one puts his feet on the shoulders of the lighter one in front of him, and thereâ(TM)s an even lighter one in front of *him*. Now the heaviest / last one uses his legs to accelerate the two lighter ones, and the middle one accelerates the one in front, who then only touches the tube with his heels and shoulder blades.

The speeds you can reach like that are INSANE.
NEVER do it on any tube which is not *completely* closed, because you WILL fall out (yes, even with those "wings"), and you WILL die. Also unless you're experienced and know what you're doing, never do that head-first, or a brain trauma will be in order.

Trust me on that. I nearly killed my little brother that way. And I already had a lot of experience and training.

Re:Staying on the Tube (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44219673)

Wat? Why the hell does the tube not have a roof?

All tube water slides around here are full tubes..

That particular slide is not a tube, it is just a slide...(IIRC...it was many years ago) a few inches high on each side. I remember the same feeling getting air on a couple of the drops right after the level parts.

Rick Hunter (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216131)

I thought he was a mech pilot.

Re:Rick Hunter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44216699)

yeah I have to wonder how many folks from here went over looking for his picture to see if he looks like the Robotech character.

Correction (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216233)

I think it should be "The Physics of your Behind on a Waterslide," with a particular emphasis on safety.

Re:Correction (5, Funny)

bobbied (2522392) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216695)

Watersides are just slippery slopes.... Which is a logical argument...

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44227921)

I think you mean:
Slippery Slopes are a logical Fall-acy.

It's tough to design one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44216627)

I can attest to the difficulty of designing a waterslide that doesn't throw its riders off the track, from more than 500 hours playing Roller Coaster Tycoon.

Software bugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44216855)

Can really mess you up.

What I want to know... (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,17 days | (#44216977)

Why can't they make a waterslide that doesn't scrape your back all to hell as you pass over the seams between adjacent pieces of slide?

In my lifetime, I can count on one hand, nay, one finger the number of waterparks that I've been to where I didn't leave the park with my back, and especially my shoulder-blades, quite badly irritated.

Re:What I want to know... (2)

dgatwood (11270) | 1 year,17 days | (#44217293)

Cost, I'd imagine.

I haven't studied the actual hardware up close, but I'm assuming they're mostly fiberglass. If so, then sufficiently large masses must able to expand and contract as the temperature changes, or else they will break. Therefore, you likely have to leave a small gap and fill it with something that can compress (e.g. rubber seal). Unfortunately, when the rubber compresses, it comes out the top and bottom equally.

I suppose if the slides were made of metal, you could make the uppermost piece lap over the lower piece by an inch and then stop. This would make the joint sharp if you were going upwards, but because you're going downwards, it should not be. However, metal is a lot more expensive than fiberglass.

What a shit article... (1)

Schlopper (413780) | 1 year,17 days | (#44217621)

Seriously, can be shortened to: Slide uses gravity. Water lubricates. Kindergarten science really.

Also, Mr. Hunter sounds like a real dick:

"I'm not going to take riders into a short-radius curve right away"
"I'm constantly thinking about the depth of water in every part of the ride"

The constant use of "I" makes one wonder:

1 - Is this a one-man show?
2 - If not, what the fuck do the rest of the employees do since Mr. Hunter makes it sound like he does ALL THE WORK.

Tricks (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | 1 year,16 days | (#44221619)

Years ago I worked at a waterslide. A number of people figured out how to position their bodies so they skipped across the water at the bottom. This resulted in a number of broken bits as they could actually reach the end of the pool and slam into the concrete. The pool at the end was a good 30 feet long. I would guess that some of them were skipping well enough to go at least another 10 feet. I doubt that many waterslide designers take the body engineers into account.
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