Teacher Notes – Activity 14: Momentum in Collisions
Calculate the total momentum before and the total momentum after for each collision.
Friction, misalignment of the carts during collision, and uncertainty in the measurement of mass are some examples of factors that might cause the momentum after to not equal the momentum before.
For a head-on collision between two carts of equal mass and equal speed, the total momentum before the collision is zero.
The momentum of a firecracker at rest is zero. The momentum of all the fragments of the firecracker after it explodes is also zero.
For two carts to be at rest after collision, their total momentum before collision would be zero. For that to happen when one cart is half as massive as the other, it must have twice the speed of the more massive cart.
Introductory Physics with the Xplorer GLX © 2006 PASCO p.
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