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Zero Gravity Road

Vomit Comet on wheels
  (+7)
(+7)
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A road with sections in the shape of a parabola, going downward.

A car, going at the correct speed will experience zero gravity while on the down curving sections. The up slopes could be made longer, to limit the load on the suspension. If they are twice as long as the down sections the car will experience zero G for a short time followed by one and a half G for twice that time.

Allows anybody with a car to experience zero G.

neelandan, Aug 23 2006

Evil Knievel Highway Evil_20Knievel_20Highway
[ldischler, Aug 23 2006]

Mandatory equipment Whee_20Shocks
I think you'll agree... [lurch, Aug 23 2006]

[link]






       If you're experiencing zero-G, I'm not sure you'd be able to steer, or brake, or anything. You might not need gently climbing up-slopes, because there'd just be a big mash of crumpled steel at the bottom.   

       Can't anyone with a car already experience zero G by driving it off a cliff?
zen_tom, Aug 23 2006
  

       Braking might be difficult.
egbert, Aug 23 2006
  

       Um, a car can experience zero-G while going up. A parabola is commonly understood to be an arch shape, going up, over and down. But yes, the curves that take the car from going down to going up could be made gradual. Though that would add to the cost of making the road, and reduce the zero-G time.
baconbrain, Aug 23 2006
  

       I think that gradients required would be akin to driving off a cliff, as [zen_tom] suggests. Consider that a really steep hill is only 30° in reality.   

       Another problem I see with zero G driving is that all my CoolMints would levitate out of their current enclosure and impair my vision. Still, I guess if I can't brake nor steer then it doesn't really matter.
Texticle, Aug 23 2006
  

       At zero G, how do you plan to steer? Your tyres would have exactly zero traction, and your brakes would be useless too.
BunsenHoneydew, Aug 29 2006
  

       The other consequence of losing traction, besides loss of control, is that air resistance would no longer be overcome by the car's engine, and the resulting acceleration would prevent simulated freefall. A car with sufficient aerodynamic downforce could overcome both these problems.
spidermother, Aug 29 2006
  

       [plish] where I live we have drumlins - lots of them, glacial deposit scenery sometimes referred to as "a basket of eggs'' and zero gs abound, so I'm neutral on this one (0)
xenzag, Aug 29 2006
  

       This isn't as unrealistic as I thought. Did a few Excell calcs, get the following:   

       Inuitial speed = 30 m/s (pretty roughly 100km/hr or 60 MPH)   

       starting on a 1:3 upslope (~26 degrees)   

       It's basically a rounded hump in the road, with a parabolic shape.   

       the road will rise about 5 1/2 metres, and 2.15 seconds after starting onto the ZEROG, level with the intiial position, (distance along the road is about 40 metres). You come out of it at a 26 degree downward slope. So the thing's identical coming from either direction. I'd argue that natural formations like this would appear all over the place. Just a specifically shaped hump in the road, really. Oh, at, say 70MPH you'd get airborne over the entire thing...   

       Any larger and you get some rediculous slopes (that you couldn't grade, concrete or pour bitumen on) or rediculous speeds (I took 60MPH as a petty good upper limit for highway speeds). 2.15 seconds and 40 metres probably isn't far enough to go on a wild skid. May I suggest reinforced guide rails, however?   

       Road construction includes some rediculous expenditure on shaping, fill/fill removal, etc. The least they could do is put in some interesting features.
Custardguts, Aug 31 2006
  

       Thanks for the figures.   

       I knew somebody out there will go to the trouble of figuring out speeds and times.   

       So, it isn't as impossible thing as it would seem to be.
neelandan, Aug 31 2006
  
      
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