Train Physics

When a train is moving, the forces acting between the railcars while braking are very strong. This wears out or even breaks the couplings between the railcars. In this Virtual Lab, you will examine different designs for the couplings and through this learn about the spring and damper systems.


The model consists of a locomotive driving three railcars. The railcars and the locomotive are connected to each other by couplings. In this lab, you will test the collision forces by testing different coupling designs.
Model of the locomotive and cars.


Observe how different parameters like mass of the railcars, initial velocity of the railcars and spring and damping constant of the coupling affect the movement of the system, using animations.


Use animations to visualize the collision between the locomotive and the railcars.

Animation of the collision between the locomotive and the railcars.

Explore the HighSchoolPhysics Labs to learn more