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Pneumatic Case Studies

Pneumatics puts on the brakes at Disney's Splash Mountain

The Problem:
The log ride at Splash Mountain (Disneyland and Disney World) drops guests more than 50 feet from the ride's highest point. Since the log reaches speeds of 40 mph, deceleration must be accomplished quickly and safely so that the log can continue through the ride's winding, water-filled channels.


Its Solution:
A pair of 40-ft pneumatic brakes at the bottom of the drop are used to slow down the log. The brake pads are completely under water, and each is actuated by eight air bags.

Each bag is essentially a length of high-pressure hose that has been sealed at both ends, with a valve located in the middle. Pressurized air entering the bags causes them to expand and push upward on the pads. The hose is rated for 200-psi service, but system operating pressure is only 60 to 90 psi. When actuated, the pads contact the underside of the log, and friction gradually slows the log down to the desired speed.

Related Applications:
Any application that does not require electricity, and can stand up to the effects of water without posing a threat to water cleanliness.

How Pneumatics Improved this Application:

  • Reliability
  • Low maintenance
  • Long service life
  • Maintains water cleanliness
  • Safety