The Tilt-a-Whirl

The Tilt-a-Whirl exhibits chaotic behavior that is very similar to that of the waterwheel and of the pendulum in the atrium of Riddick.  All of the “cars” are located around the edges of a large round platform which rotates at a constant speed in a constant direction.  This platform goes up and down over (usually three) hills.  Each car is also on its own track which allows it to rotate freely.  This is where the chaotic movement comes in to play.  As the cars go up and down over the hills, you never actually know which way the car will turn.  Sometimes you never even know if your car will move.  As you can tell from the video, some of the cars also rotate a lot quicker than the others.  This reminds me of the waterwheel because the ride starts from the same position every time.  However, you never get the same path.  The first hill on one turn may send you spinning in one direction and the other time will send you spinning in the other direction.  This unpredictability is what makes this ride fun and a staple at amusement parks.

More info: http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/pages/puzzlezone/muse/muse0501.asp

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