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You are on page 1of 5

by the Physics Education Technology Project (PhET)

c/o The University of Colorado at Boulder http://phet.colorado.edu/

Investigating Momentum:

dimensional momentums

one

dimensional

and

two

Objective:

This activity is intended to enhance your physics education. We offer it as a

virtual lab online. We think it will help you make connections between

predictions and conclusions, concepts and actions, equations and practical

activities. We also think that if you give this activity a chance, it will be fun!

This is an opportunity to learn a great deal. Answer all questions as you

follow the procedure in running the simulation.

Familiarize yourself with The Collision Lab: There are controls that will help

you setting up a scenario to carry out the simulation and extract the

outcome. These features are found to the right and underneath of the

simulation display. Controls in the green box to the side of the simulation

screen are the following.

Dimension: selecting 1 dimension makes the balls inline and minimizes the

screen. Selecting 2 dimensions will basically maximize the display box.

Vectors: If you want to see velocity and/or momentum vectors on the balls

you added on the screen, you can select the Velocity vectors and/or

Momentum vectors. It is also possible to see vectors in a separate display

by selecting Momenta diagram. Actually, you can see the total momentum

of the system in real time by checking tip-to-tail box at the bottom left

corner of the momenta diagram. It is also possible to maximize or minimize

the vectors using the slide on the momenta diagram.

Elasticity: Changing the percentage of elasticity on the slide controls the loss

in kinetic energy of the system after collision. The two ends of the slide bar

differentiate elastic from perfectly inelastic collisions. If you set the elasticity

to 100%, the collision is elastic, but it is perfectly Inelastic collision if you set

it on 0%. All other collisions that are not completely elastic can be

represented between 0% and 100%.

Additional controls: If you want to display the center of mas, check the

Center of Mass box. You can also check the Show Paths to display

footpath of the collision. You can check the Reflecting Boarder if you want

to bound the collisions inside the box. Whenever you click on the Reset

button, you will find two balls on the screen located diagonally and

2Dimensions, Velocity Vector, Center of Mass, Reflecting Border

checked with 100% elasticity. If you make it more fun you can add sound.

Underneath the simulation display, there are three buttons of which the two

are used to add or remove balls. The third one has a lot of information in it.

You can switch between more and less data. If you click on More Data, you

will get a larger box which displays the mass, location, velocity, and

momenta of each ball. This is also very important control to precisely locate

and setting up the initial conditions of the system.

Running the simulation is obvious buttons found just under the screen. If you

want to restart the simulation, click the Rewind button. In addition, you can

speed up or slow down the interaction with the Time Rate slide bar.

Introduction:

When the net external force (Fnet) acting on a system of particles is zero (the

system is isolated) and that no particles leave or enter the system (the

system is closed), the total momentum (P) of the system is constant.

Fnet = 0 P/t = 0

P = 0

Linear momentum is defined as, P = mv

P = 0 P P0 = 0

P = P0 (The momentum after equals to the

momentum before)

For example, let us consider two balls colliding to each other as shown below

and rewrite the law of conservation of momentum explicitly.

m1

v01

v02

m2

m1

v1

m2

v2

Before

Collision

m1v01 +

After

Collision

m1v1 +

m1v01

+ m2v02 =

m1vector

v1

Since

momentum

is a

quantity, we should pay attention to directions. If it is a one

dimensional

+ m2v2 collision, the directions are right and left or positive and negative on the horizontal

axis. In two dimensional motion, you have to resolve the momentum vectors in x and y directions

before and after the collisions. Check out the figure below for the general case of collision in two

dimensions for the two balls.

Before

Collision

m1v01x +

m2v02x

After

Collision

m1v1x +

m2v2x

The total kinetic energy of the system may or may not be the same before and after the collision.

Those collisions for which the total kinetic energy is conserved are called elastic collisions.

Inelastic collisions are those which the total kinetic energy is not conserved.

Procedure: Open collision lab

http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/collision-lab

Part I: Collisions in one dimension

1. Create a scenario so that the interaction is between a ball and a wall

a. If the balls initial velocity be is 2m/s and the systems elasticity is 100%,

i.

What is the velocity of the ball after rebounds from the wall?

V =

_____m/s

ii. What is the change in momentum of the ball? P = _____ kgm/s

b. If the balls velocity is unchanged but the elasticity is reduced to 50%,

i. What is the velocity of the ball after rebounds from the wall? V = _____m/s

ii. What is the change in momentum of the ball? P = _____ kgm/s

c. If the balls velocity remains the same but the elasticity is reduced to 0%,

i. What is the velocity of the ball after rebounds from the wall? V = _____m/s

ii. What is the change in momentum of the ball? P = _____ kgm/s

2. Now add another ball so that the collision is going to be between these two balls. Let the

masses are equal and ball 1 and ball 2 are located at (0.5,0) and (1.5,0) respectively.

a. If you run the simulation with elasticity of 100% and initial velocities of ball 1 and

ball 2 are 1 m/s and at rest respectively,

i. the velocities of the two balls after collision are v 1 = ____ m/s and v2 = ____

m/s

ii. the momenta of the system before and after collisions are equal to ______

kgm/s and _______ kgm/s

iii. the kinetic energies of the system before and after collisions are equal to

______Jules and _____ Joules

b. If you run the simulation with elasticity of 50% and initial velocities of ball 1 and

ball 2 are 1 m/s and at rest respectively,

i. the velocities of the two balls after collision are v 1 = ____ m/s and v2 = ____

m/s

ii. the momenta of the system before and after collisions are equal to ______

kgm/s and _______ kgm/s

iii. the kinetic energies of the system before and after collisions are equal to

______Jules and _____ Joules

c.

If you run the simulation with elasticity of 0% and initial velocities of ball 1 and

ball 2 are 1 m/s and at rest respectively,

i. the velocities of the two balls after collision are v 1 = ____ m/s and v2 = ____

m/s

ii. the momenta of the system before and after collisions are equal to ______

kgm/s and _______ kgm/s

iii. the kinetic energies of the system before and after collisions are equal to

______Jules and _____ Joules

3. Let ball 1 has a mass twice that of ball 2 and ball 1 and ball 2 are located at (0.5,0) and

(1.5,0) respectively,

a. If you run the simulation with elasticity of 100% and initial velocities of ball 1 and

ball 2 are 1 m/s and at rest respectively,

i. the velocities of the two balls after collision are v 1 = ____ m/s and v2 = ____

m/s

ii. the momenta of the system before and after collisions are equal to ______

kgm/s and _______ kgm/s

iii. the kinetic energies of the system before and after collisions are equal to

______Jules and _____ Joules

b. If you run the simulation with elasticity of 50% and initial velocities of ball 1 and

ball 2 are 1 m/s and at rest respectively,

i. the velocities of the two balls after collision are v 1 = ____ m/s and v2 = ____

m/s

ii. the momenta of the system before and after collisions are equal to ______

kgm/s and _______ kgm/s

iii. the kinetic energies of the system before and after collisions are equal to

______Jules and _____ Joules

c.

If you run the simulation with elasticity of 0% and initial velocities of ball 1 and

ball 2 are 1 m/s and at rest respectively,

i. the velocities of the two balls after collision are v 1 = ____ m/s and v2 = ____

m/s

ii. the momenta of the system before and after collisions are equal to ______

kgm/s and _______ kgm/s

iii. the kinetic energies of the system before and after collisions are equal to

______Jules and _____ Joules

1. Apply the following settings for the simulation

a. Mass: m1 = m2 = 0.5 kg.

b. Location: (0.5m, 0.5m) and (0.5m, 0m) for ball 1 and ball 2 respectively

c. Initial velocities: v01x = 0.4m/s v01y = -0.2m/s v02x = 0.4m/s v02y = 0.2m/s

2. Calculate the angles for initial velocity vectors

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