July 2013

Roller Coasters: A Thrill of a Lifetime
Roller coaster technology has advanced throughout the years with the help of specialized urethane or cast nylon formulations. (Photo courtesy of www.coasterimage.com.)

With the advancements in roller coaster design, came the need for a quieter, smoother and, of course, a much faster ride! Early attempts included natural rubber coated steel or aluminum wheels. Although the ride was much improved, durability was an issue. Today, the majority of the high speed rides use wheel rolling surfaces consisting of specialized urethane or cast nylon formulations. These materials provide the designer with a variety of rolling resistances, load bearing capacities and hysteresis characteristics, that meet the needs of comfort and that important factor — speed! Learn more about plastics in roller coasters.


Inside this issue

Roller Coasters: A Thrill of a Lifetime
Plastic Materials Surround You
Have fun ... with plastics!

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Expand Your Knowledge

Plastic Materials Surround You

Close your eyes for a moment and picture your family’s favorite recreational site. The park with its playground equipment (made of wood, metal or plastic), basketball court (backboards made of polycarbonate), picnic tables (made of wood or recycled plastic) and the small creek with its canoes, paddle boats and waterslide (all made of ABS, HDPE and UHMW). Oh, and on the way, did you see those construction barriers (HDPE) in the parking lot and the signs directing you to the playground? These items were most likely made from that laminated polyethylene.

Learn more about plastics in recreation.

Technical Advisory: Cast Nylon

The use of cast nylon formulations for amusement park applications is becoming more and more prevalent. High load bearing capacity and low rolling resistance, coupled with the availability of large diameter tubular bar, make cast nylon products a cost-effective alternative to conventional materials.

Applications for cast nylons have historically been large wear parts used in heavy industry where the material's light weight, wear resistance and ability not to damage mating parts have made it an attractive alternative to steel and bronze parts.

For more information, see Introduction to Plastics, the IAPD guide to plastic materials and applications.

Have fun ... with plastics!

From swimming pools to roller coasters to basketball backboards to playground equipment, if you’re having fun, chances are plastics are along for the ride. Relax and enjoy the durability of plastics!

Did you know that Americans spend more than $4 billion annually at amusement parks, with roller coasters being the largest attraction?

Learn more

More Plastics Resources

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Go to www.iapd.org to find a distributor in your area. You can search by company name, location or product category.

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Designing with Plastics is published by the International Association of Plastics Distribution. While every effort has been made for accuracy, IAPD encourages you to verify information with a plastics distributor to ensure you select the correct plastic products to meet your needs.