Turn Across

Principles of Science: Energy, Motion, Work

The harder the crank is turned, the more energy is exerted; as a result, the faster or heavier an object can be moved. The Turn Across consists of a windlass (winch) that moves a gondola via a cable. Turn the crank on the windlass to move the gondola across the rail. One or more people can pile onto the gondola itself, either from the platform or the carriage housing, and ride it across the rail. How does the required force to turn the crank change as more people sit on the gondola? How does the force change if the crank is turned faster or slower?

Humans store chemical energy from food. This is then converted into kinetic energy that is used to do work—in this case, work is done on the gondola and passengers as they are moved across the rail. Work is done whenever a force is applied for a certain distance, and is calculated by multiplying the force and the distance.

A ski lift uses electrical potential energy to complete this same type of work.