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CCSS: 7.G.B.4

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Spokeless Wheel

VCG via Getty Images

The carriages have TV and WIFI, in case you get bored of the scenery.

This spokeless Ferris wheel just opened in eastern China. Instead of rotating around a central axle—like a typical Ferris wheel—the Bailang River Bridge Ferris Wheel features a circular track that carries its 36 carriages around the wheel’s circumference. A motor at the base powers the 28-minute roundtrip ride.

The wheel is a giant circle built from small triangles. Both are strong shapes, says Rebecca Thompson, a physicist at the American Physical Society. Removing the heavy spokes from the center reduces both the total weight and the amount of energy required to rotate the wheel. “From a physics perspective, this seems like a much more intelligent design,” says Thompson.

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