Plastics and Recreation: How Cast Acrylic Tube Manufacturers Help Rollercoasters Roll

If there's one sound that signifies summer, it's the screams of delight caused by the thrill of rollercoasters. But, it's only been recently that those screams could be heard over the roar of the ride.

In the early days, rollercoasters were equipped with rubber-coated steel or aluminum wheels that quickly wore down, causing the ride to get louder, more jarring, and ultimately less safe.

As a result, most of today's high-speed thrill rides use wheel surfaces made from specialized urethane or cast acrylic formulations. This innovation in rollercoaster design provided the coasters with improved load bearing capacities, a smoother, more comfortable ride, greater speed potential, and less wear and tear.

Cast Acrylic's Role in Rollercoaster History

The first amusement park rollercoaster built in the United States opened at Coney Island in the spring of 1884. Called the Switchback Railway, the coaster was the brainchild of LaMarcus Thompson. The coaster cost just a nickel to ride and had a maximum speed of six miles per hour. Needless to say, the ride was a huge success, resulting in Thompson being nicknamed the "father of gravity" and hundreds of similar coasters being built around the country by the turn of the century.

Over the last 100 years, rollercoaster technology has evolved relatively quickly. In 1959, the first tubular rail coaster, the Matterhorn Bobsleds, was built at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Then, in 1992, first inverted (hang below the track) coaster, Batman: The Ride, was built at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.

Over the course of the coaster's evolution, the driving force was always riders that demanded quieter, more comfortable, faster, and more thrilling rides. Rubber-coated steel and aluminum parts improved matters, but they ultimately lacked the durability needed for long-term operation. This resulted in rollercoaster designers turning to cast acrylic tube manufacturers.

Today's modern coasters use advanced computer technology and highly-durable cast acrylic components that allow the rides to meet speeds in excess of 100 mph with greater durability, less wear, and better hysteresis characteristics. Plus, acrylic's naturally high load bearing capacity and low rolling resistance, coupled with the availability of large diameter tubular bar, make cast acrylic products a more cost-effective and safer alternative to conventional rollercoaster materials.

Contact US Cast, the Leading Cast Acrylic Tube Manufacturer in the U.S.

US Cast is one of the country's leading cast acrylic tube manufacturers. If you have an application that calls for the high durability and dependable reliability of cast acrylic tubes, we have the products you need. Call US Cast today at 856-347-2342 to learn more about our premium cast acrylic tubes and rods. Let us help you achieve the results you're looking to reach. 

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