PTL Fabricators - Custom Fabricators – Clarksville, Tennessee

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The Science of Slides

At PTL, we work in the worlds of physics and engineering every day.

While these topics may sound dull to some, there is an element of these areas of science in almost everything we enjoy on a daily basis. This includes awesome things like water slides!

With the summer winding down, you and your family may have enjoyed a water slide or two by now.

Here is a tiny peak into the science behind this refreshing summer thrill!

Let’s start with the basics of how water slides are built. Most water slides consist of smooth pieces of fiberglass, supported by a very strong metal frame. Smaller slides can be formed using one piece of fiberglass, but more complicated water slides are made of several sections held together with a series of heavy duty bolts.

Much like a rollercoaster, gravity is the driving force that gets slide goers from the top to the bottom. In fact, engineers take several factors into consideration to help you have a safe ride down. These include:

  • Gravity
  • Friction between your body (or inner tube) and the slide
  • How the water interacts with the slide’s surface
  • For slides with lots of turns, they also have to think about inertia!

In order to regulate speed, engineers also consider the depth of the water at every step of the slide’s progression. Water acts as a barrier that lubricates the space between the slide and the rider, as well as a force to help push you along. We all know water slides are a fun treat, but it can be easy to forget the hard work and science that goes into making them safe to enjoy!

While we don’t often work on things like water slides here at PTL, we are equipped to take on projects large and small. From steel building erection to facility relocation and maintenance our talented team is ready to tackle the engineering and physics behind the everyday issues you face. Give us a call at 931-647-0675 or come see us at our office in Clarksville, TN. You can also check us out on Facebook! Allow us to use our over 30 years of experience to help with your project today!

How Stuff Works: Science
National Geographic

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