Aerodynamics in the amusement park: Interpreting sensor data for acceleration and rotation

Marcus Löfstrand, Ann Marie Pendrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sky roller ride depends on interaction with the air to create a rolling motion. In this paper, we analyse forces, torque and angular velocities during different parts of the ride, combining a theoretical analysis, with photos, videos as well as with accelerometer and gyroscopic data, that may be collected e.g. with a smartphone. For interpreting the result, it must be taken into account that the sensors and their coordinate system rotate together with the rider. The sky roller offers many examples for physics education, from simple circular motion, to acceleration and rotation involving several axes, as well as the relation between wing orientation, torque and angular velocities and using barometer pressure to determine the elevation gain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number055015
JournalPhysics Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Physical Sciences
  • Didactics

Free keywords

  • Accelerometer
  • Amusement park physics
  • rotation
  • sensors
  • Smartphone


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