Do you like thrilling rides like roller coasters? What about wet rides like water slides? Have you ever been on a ride that combines the best of these two worlds? If not, you need to go for a ride on a water coaster!
Traditional water slides pump water to the top, so that riders can then ride the water down to the bottom. The water reduces friction, allowing sliders to slip quickly down the slide. Water slides often feature twists and turns that make the ride even more exciting. Riders may travel on a mat, a tube or nothing at all between them and the slide’s surface.
Water coasters add even more fun, because they combine the wet fun of water slides with the thrills of roller coasters. In addition to descents, they also feature ascents. Rather than sliding directly on a surface, water coaster riders usually travel in large, custom-made rafts that resemble large tubes.
Water coasters operate using three different types of technology. Some water coasters are powered by high-speed conveyor belts. Others use water jets that spray water to force the raft along its path.
The newest water coasters feature special motors called linear induction motors. These motors create special moving magnetic fields to generate motion.
Special magnetic rafts are used with linear induction motors to produce the thrilling ride of a water coaster. The same technology has also been used in Japan to power special magnetic levitation trains.
Water coasters can be found in amusement parks and water parks around the world. Splashin’ Safari, a water park in Santa Claus, Indiana, features two water coasters. The Wildebeest was the first to be built and it featured linear induction motor technology.
In 2012, the park added a second water coaster — called The Mammoth — that also features linear induction motors. The Mammoth is currently the longest water coaster in the world!