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Guest boycotta

Wood or Steel - which is stronger!

21 posts in this topic

Guest boycotta

this is very interesting. what is stronger the bush beast or a wooden roller coaster or a steel roller coaster like the deom at wonderland sydney. please leave your opinion and i will give you the real answer and why!

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I'm going to wager that Bush Beast is stronger. Demon might be, pound for pound, but they're dealing with lighter trains, slower speeds, less G's etc. there. Wood has the ability to absorb much of the force (of course steel does, but to a much lesser extent). Think about it like this - Demon's supports are spaced several metres apart. They're all straight (or A-frame) hollow tubes. Bush Beast has supports every metre or so at the most. They quickly turn into more and more supports with crossties etc. everywhere which distribute the force over many many supports, and are able to bend to absorb it. Put something (really!) heavy on the two tracks, and I'll wager that you'll see Demon crushing before you see Bush Beast snapping. Apply this to any coaster, although once we're into the Intamin truss tracks, I might change my mind. :)

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Yes, and when it is a hot summer day, the wood expands/increases making it very stronger than before. On cold days, it decreases making it less stable but still stronger than steel. :!: ^^For the above, it could be the other way round... ;)

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Guest boycotta

well yous are all correct and ill give you my theory well its my dads theory he makes kitchens and deals with wood every day. if you get one piece of wood and one piece of steel wood would be much stronger. wood can be dedscribed as a chemical reaction. if it bends it can take its normal shape back. however steel would be a physical reaction. if it bends it stays that way which would make it hard to take its 100% shape again without leaving bumps. treated pine would have to be one of the strongest would available which is what the beast and beastie is made of. no termites can eat it and yes there are millions of supports everywhere onm the ride. the roller coaster has been standing there for over 17 years for crying out loud, surviving storms, rain, floods, bush fires and has operated many many times. its much lighter. but people still rely on steel roller coasters because it may look strong. the train is bounded by the track by simply magnets strong magnets on the wheel and the track other wise it would fly off. its held by support wires the wood is stuck in the ground by concrete the structure is a criis cross shape with supports going about45 degree angles on both sides and the ride gives a much better feeling and experience compared to steel roller coasters. i love the bush beast i dont really find it that rough only the first drop because it sort of twists at teh bottom. thankyou

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"the train is bounded by the track by simply magnets strong magnets on the wheel and the track other wise it would fly off" ... this is so wrong. how can you write a factual post with such incorrect info in it? coaster trains are held onto the tracks by up-stop wheels which run along the bottom or side of the track. there are always the main wheels which run along the top of the track and the secondary guide wheels which obviously have different configurations depending on what type of coaster it is. i suppose you are the type of person who think real trains (locomotives) have steering wheels which the drivers use to guide them along the tracks! :rolleyes:

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I'd say boycotta is right... Why would there be up-stop wheels on the bottom of a woodie train? Wouldn't the wood need to hold up the steel track making the wheels hit the wood or something like that? Just complete nonsense.. But if it is true, pretend I never said anything. ;) Oh.. and sorry If I make no sense to you.. lol :mrgreen:

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Err.. more info on the magnets please! There just has to be upstops on a woodie, I can't see how magnets could withstand the pressure it is being put under. Although I guess, it could (and most probally does) work. Thanks, ~Liam

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The only magnets with anything to do with Bush Beast are the solenoids (electromagnets) in the restraint release mechanism that create that buzzing sound you hear when they lock/unlock the restraints (hence the term buzzbar for these fixed position lapbars). A wooden coaster and steel coaster's track are essentially identical in theory. There are wheels on top (road wheels), wheels below (upstops) and wheels on the sides (guide wheels - either on the inside or outside - in both Bush Beast and Demon's case, the inside). These are what prevent the train from coming off the track. Aside from being impractical (magnets will act as brakes while the train is moving - the same basic theory that stops Giant Drop), costly and high maintenance (heat and banging are the two things that destroy magnets - and the two things that coaster wheels do), magnets would also be unreliable and quite a nuisance. And getting back to the topic (but please do keep talking about magnets!), I think the point I was at least partially trying to make was that steel may be stronger, but in this case, the design of the wooden coaster, and the factors that are taken into account during the design, mean that wood is made to be stronger. Build Bush Beast from steel with the same structure design, and the steel version will be by far the stronger. And wood doesn't stand up to time anywhere nearly as well as steel coaster. They have paint that protects from rust and weather (painted wooden coasters will still soak up water etc.). Bush Beast may be 17 years old, but the amount of wood that would have been replaced to keep the ride operating should be staggering (*real* parks go so far as to retracking nearly every year) - though this is Wonderland we're talking about... wood doesn't seem to be their best area. Meanwhile rides like Corkscrew at Sea World, going on 21, haven't needed any significant track or support work (joz, any corrections to make here? :)).

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Meanwhile rides like Corkscrew at Sea World, going on 21, haven't needed any significant track or support work (joz, any corrections to make here? :)).
None that come to mind, although due to the high amount of salt in the air at SW, some small sections have had to patched up.

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Not forgetting that when you put wood into cement in the ground, over time the wood will rot due to the chemical reaction of the concrete with the timber. These are one section that would have required replacment a couple of times i'm guessing.

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Back to the upstop wheel business for a second. Wooden coasters normally do not have wheels or magnets to prevent them coming off the track. A thin metal strip sits under an overhang on the inside of the track is what prevents it from coming off. It is almost like a thin bar bolted on the bottom of the train so that if it lifts up it will hit the overhng and hold it on the track. If anyone owns "Roller Coaster: wooden and steel coasters, twisters and corkscrews" by David Bennett, the proof is on p70.

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That method of upstops is seldom used on todays coasters. Off the top of my head, I can think of only one wooden coaster with upstop pads instead of wheels, and it's PNE's "Coaster". Just about every other wooden coaster, particularly those built in the last 30 years or so, use steel wheels as upstops. Let's confuse the matter more. Earlier Arrow coasters actually used upstop pads as well. I know that Gemini at Cedar Point still uses them to this day, and when Magnum XL-200 first opened it had them too (trails of sparks were seen at night on the bunny hills), but changed to wheels some time after. David Bennett did a good job, but it's generally accepted that it's among the most erroneous out there. :)

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Guest boycotta

well thunder001 the wood that they are using is treated pine which is strong and resistant to preety much anything. not do you really think that wonderland or any themepark would make a wooden rollercoaster with the cement in the ground and let the wood rot over time. i dont think so.

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And why do parks even bother planting flowers in the gardens? Surely they wouldn't waste their time with that when they know that the sun will eventually run out of energy and we'll all die a cold dark death. There are costs associated with running a park. Parks willingly build and operate rides knowing that there will be maintenance costs and replacements to be made in the future. Wheels are replaced on most coasters certainly on a yearly basis (some coasters even have weekly or daily wheel replacements - costing thousands for sets of wheels), paint will be applied to Demon, just as some wood will need to be replaced on Bush Beast. And no matter how much you treat the wood or whatever, there's no way it'll be around forever. And by the way I thought of it, supports are bolted to steel rods embedded in the concrete, not the actual wood. CoasterQuest.com has a good documentation of a wooden coaster construction - on this page (last picture) it's clear they're being bolted (the footers are poured weeks before vertical construction starts to allow the concrete to properly cure - which is vital before loads are put onto the concrete). Parks that take great care in their wooden coasters (Paramount's Kings Island, Cedar Point, Holiday World etc.) often have wood storage areas, to allow speedy replacements of sections of coasters during the season.

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That's kinda Ironic Richard, it doesn't matter which is stronger since the strength of the wood is ultimately limited by the strength of the steel rods :shock: I don't know a great deal about Wooden Roller Coasters, but I do know that permanent Steel coasters in Australia do require a solid concrete foundation (I'm under the impression that this does not apply to travelling carnivals or rides of that nature), so I would think it likely that wooden coasters would require some sort of concrete footers. But like I say, Wooden Coasters (and this subject in general) isn't really my strong point :|

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well thunder001 the wood that they are using is treated pine which is strong and resistant to preety much anything.
it is not resistant to everthing. Let me put it another way. You are a 13-15year old who is still at school, correct. I am a 29 year old electrican with a wife and family, who had seen treated pine fail against a lot of conditions. I have seen this " Wonder Timber" get eaten by white ants, something that is not ment to happen. I have seen it warped by too much exposure to the elerments. The best timber in my opion for strength is good old australian hardwood, but this is also not great when it comes to white ants. Timber is not as strong as you think it is. It is a living, breathing material, which is then killed for lack of a better word. What happens to everything once it has ceased it's normal patter of life. It rots. Plain and simple. Somethings rots faster than others which is why we use timber to build homes. This though is changeing to steel in house frames now. This is due to cheaper manufacturing costs, availablity, and weight. The steel frames used now are a lot lighter, but have greater strenght. Richard, (thanks for the correct as I should have know better myself. Timber into concrete :rolleyes: ). Correct me if I am wrong, but arn't the new GCI built wooden coasters built with a steel framing instead of wood. Saw the video from Robb and Elissa and the frame work looks to be steel and not wood. With this in mind, I wonder if all the new wooden coasters are now going to be steel framed. We all will have to wait and find out. By the way, I think that we ALL (self included) get our facts straight before we post anything on the boards. It saves us from the embarrassment of being proven wrong by others, and it also stops any "fights" before they start. This is just an idea, but I think that it might work.

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CCI (when they existed) built their wooden coasters with either steel or wooden supports, depending on the contraints of the site and effect the park was desiring. Great White at Morey's Pier, Hoosier Hurricane at Indiana Beach and New Mexico Rattler at Cliff's Amusement Park are the three CCI rides that come to mind that use this system. It's not new though - the famous Coney Island Cyclone (and also the since-gone Thunderbolt) used steel supports, as did the infamous Crystal Beach Cyclone. You'll notice that this steel is far thinner than wooden coasters, or regular steel coasters. I'm not sure of the breakdown of costs, but I'd imagine there's little or no great difference. Certainly not enough that'd make a park go for one over another. Hardwood of course would be ideal for strength, but as has been suggested, the idea is not necessarily strength, but largely the ability to distribute and absorb forces. You pile more wood in, but get a heck of a lot smoother ride than you'd get from harder woods. Of course, you could go for super soft woods, but then of course it'd wear down very quickly, and so you'd be spending a lot more on replacing the wood. For what it's worth, you'll also get a smoother ride by increasing the number of layers of wood in the laminated track, and decreasing the thickness of the wood (which is the idea behind Intamin's plug-n-play wooden coasters, which many say match the smoothness of steel coasters). Correct facts are always good. I don't know how everyone interprets my posts, but I think I try to make it clear as to whether it's fact or opinion I'm giving (opinion is usually characterised by the completely negative tone in my posts). When it's opinion, I don't care whether what I'm saying is right or wrong. When it's fact, I like to feel I'm correct (and it's rare that I make a factual post without at least a bit of research). :)

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pound for pound the wood is stronger .... this is basic science guys as for the concrete footers next time your at any park have a look all rides in a fixed location have a concrete footer including wooden rollercoasters such as the bush beast Note: the footers of the bush beast have the names of the construction crew written in the concrete.

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