Marble Roller Coasters and Physics

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Fun Facts with Physics and Marble Roller Coasters

There are many questions SpaceRailers have when it comes to “WHY” the marbles are able to run the SpaceRail track and not fall off and can stay on the ball roller coaster. We’ve created this blog to answer those questions and to give you some fun educational facts about SpaceRail’s marble roller coaster kit.


As the marble moves upwards, it is gaining potential or stored energy.

As the marble moves upwards, it is gaining potential or stored energy.


Gaining Energy with Elevation:

Let’s begin with the beginning part of the marble run: the elevator. When the SpaceRails ball is going up the spiraled

elevator, this is called potential energy and it increases as the ball gets higher and higher. The SpaceRail Level 9 elevator is much taller than Level 1’s elevator, therefore it stores more potential energy or energy to be used to go up and down the rails.


The Drops in your Marble Run:

marble roller coaster gains kinetic energy

As the marble goes down the hill it gains kinetic energy and going up a hill it loses kinetic energy.

The next part of the marble run is the drops and hills. When the ball is released from the elevator, the potential

energy becomes kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is a body (the marble) in motion. With any type of roller coaster, the higher the drop the more kinetic energy it has to go up the next hilltop. As the marble goes down a rail, it is gaining kinetic energy and when it goes up, it is losing kinetic energy.

The drops get higher and higher with each level you increase with your SpaceRail marble run. If you start with SpaceRail Level 1 and build your marble roller coaster to Level 9, you will see the difference in how much more kinetic energy is used as the drops become higher.

The Loops:

Gravity pulls the marble down, but the accelerated force is much greater.

Gravity pulls the marble down, but the accelerated force is much greater.

Everyone wonders how the marble stays on the track when going upside down in the loops on their SpaceRail. This is when inertia and gravity becomes involved. Inertia says that an object in motion will stay in motion, unless an outside force changes its course. The marble in your marbler roller coaster is moving fast and the direction of the marble changes by the curve of the loop. Inertia is what presses the marble to the outside rails of the loop. Although gravity is pulling the marble down, the accelerated force is stronger and is pulling the ball upwards. In short, the acceleration is counteracting the gravity pull.






Now, when you build your marble roller coaster set you can identify these different lessons of physics. These laws of physics can also help you to build your marble run. Check and see if your marble coaster has enough potential energy, kinetic energy, and enough accelerated force to define gravity. Good luck!

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Showing 5 comments
  • Gareth roddy

    What do you do if the balls keep falling off of the elevator

    • Jennie

      Hi Gareth,
      We have a few suggestions:
      1. Check the shaft and make sure that it is perfectly straight.
      2. The helix elevator pieces need to be adjusted and made sure they are straight as well.

      Let us know if this helps!


    The illustration above shows two different roller coaster tracks for marbles. How much height is needed at the starting point in order for the marble to loop the loop?

    • Jennie

      Hi! Thank you for your comment and question. I know the diameter is varied among models. For example, there are loops that stay the same size and there are horizontal corkscrews in which the loops gradually get smaller. With the loops you’ll find it very important to test and make adjustments as needed.

      We have a very active Facebook group that would be able to help you troubleshoot and give tips and their recommendations on the loop diameter. View the group here:

pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] Before reading the ideas below, there are key aspects and physics that effect the marble run. Essentially, the marble needs speed and momentum to run the track. The beginning of the marble run will be the top of the elevator or a higher platform. This allows the marble to gain speed to run the track. Learn more about marble rollercoasters and physics in our blog Fun Facts with Physics and Marble Roller Coasters.  […]

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