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Mapua Institute of technology

Physics department

CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM:
THE BALLISTIC PENDULUM
(EXPERIMENT 202)

de Ocampo, Tyrone Irwin V.
PHY11L/A7

October 30, 2015

V0 is the velocity of the steel ball. In the case of a pendulum total mechanical energy is conserved. the potential energy of the pendulum when it stops can be measured. So kinetic energy of the pendulum (after firing) is fully converted to potential energy. It can be used to measure any transfer of momentum. In a perfectly inelastic collision. Thus the pendulum's initial velocity can be calculated. the velocity of the ball will decrease due to conservation of momentum. the velocity of the bullet can be computed.INTRODUCTION: A ballistic pendulum is a device for measuring a bullet's momentum. . v is the velocity of the pendulum and the steel ball after the collision. Ballistic pendulums have been largely rendered obsolete by modern chronographs. the momentum of the system is conserved. which allow direct measurement of the projectile velocity. The momentum after the collision is equal to the momentum before the collision: Mb V0 = (Mb + Mc) v Where Mb is the mass of the steel ball. By measuring the height of the pendulum's swing. from which it is possible to calculate the velocity and kinetic energy. which captures the bullet and absorbs its energy. The stationary pendulum now moves with a new velocity just after the collision. but kinetic energy is not. The kinetic energy of the pendulum and the steel ball after the collision is converted completely to potential energy at the top of the swing: ½ (Mb + Mc) v^2 = (Mb + Mc) gh STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM/PURPOSE: The objectives of this experiment is to use the principles of conservation of momentum and energy in determining the velocity of the steel ball using a ballistic pendulum and to validate the initial velocity of the steel ball through projectile motion. Using the law of conservation of momentum. Momentum is conserved during the collision. HYPOTHESIS: If the ball is fired at an initial velocity and embedded into the pendulum. While not all of the energy from the bullet is transformed into kinetic energy for the pendulum (some is used as heat and deformation energy). Mc is the mass of the pendulum. a bullet is fired into the stationary pendulum.

It can be measured by a meter stick or by trigonometric applications since the angle and length of the pendulum’s arm is known. Meter stick It is a measurement tool that is one meter long. It illustrates the principles involved in conservation of energy and momentum. At this moment.Before the group start performing the first part of the experiment which is getting the initial velocity of the steel ball.ballistic method. the group compute for the change in height. the steel ball is fired towards the pendulum.MATERIALS: Ballistic Pendulum with accessories An apparatus that is used to measure the speed of a bullet. the group could determine the vertical distance. Then. the group calculated for the ball’s velocity using conservation of momentum. the pendulum displaces at a certain angle. The group execute five trials and get its average or mean angle. PROCEDURE: In this experiment. In order to determine the change in potential energy. the initial height is subtracted from the final height. the kinetic energy of the combined mass of steel ball and pendulum is converted to gravitational potential energy as it goes up. Afterwards. Having the mean value as the angle where the pendulum displaces. It must be set on the horizontal table to avoid some discrepancies. the group record the mass of the steel ball and the mass of the ballistic pendulum. the group used a set of ballistic pendulum with accessories . approximately zero degrees from the vertical. At this moment. Then. the group use the equation to compute for velocity of the steel ball and the pendulum bob after the inelastic collision. It can be used directly to measure in terms of centimeters and millimeters. the group measure the initial height of the pendulum bob from the base to the reference point. . Moving on to the last step. whereas. Using the value of increase in height. the group had the first setup in such a way that the pendulum bob is horizontally set.

the two values for the initial firing velocity provided by from the two methods the groupre compared by taking their percentage of difference. So. Lastly. Moreover. it also means that the kinetic energy and the momentum is conserved and therefore will have the calculation of the steel ball’s velocity just before impact. the group noticed that the resulting angles are almost equal through the successive trials. . initial firing velocity was determined through using the concept conservation of momentum. In this part. the group set the pendulum arm upward that will be able to fire the steel ball horizontally. the principle of projectile motion is applied. which states that momentum before and after collision remains the same. Also. It gave us an idea that the group can readily determine the initial velocity by means of determining the vertical and horizontal distance from the point where the ball was launched and the point where it landed. Meaning.by trajectory method. Table 1: Observing the data gathered from Table 1. the group measured the initial velocity using DATA/RESULTS/OBSERVATIONS: The group has performed the experiment through carefully following the procedures provided by the laboratory manual. The group used basic kinematic equations relating the range and the firing height to finally compute for the initial firing velocity.The group proceed in the second part which was about getting also the initial velocity of the steel ball but trajectory method was used. which is essentially its firing velocity. the change in potential energy of the ball and pendulum at the instant after impact is equal to the kinetic energy of the pendulum and the steel ball at the instant after impact. Additionally. In the first part which is the determination of the initial velocity of the steel ball by ballistic method. the group set the spring gun at the end of the table considering that no one and nothing will be damaged. cautious actions had been observed by the group in this part most especially during the firing of the steel ball like making sure no one was in the direction of the release. initial and final height of the pendulum which are essential in getting the initial firing velocity. That was to assure that no one could accidentally get hurt from the experiment. The second part of the experiment made use of another method of determining the initial velocity . The group fired the steel ball five times and measure their respective horizontal distances and calculated for the average. The group put a sheet of bond paper the estimated area where the group think the ball will land. The group has justly defined the masses of the steel ball and the ballistic pendulum. Finally. The experiment made use of a set of ballistic pendulum. The basic principles applied in the experiment the groupre the law of conservation of momentum which states that the total momentum of a closed system does not change and the law of conservation of energy which says that the total energy of a closed system remains constant.

ANALYSIS & CONCLUSION: The experiment shothe groupd that the law of conservation of momentum was widely applied in the determination of a steel ball’s velocity. Here are the some samples that might cause error to our experiment:  Improper using of the equipments  Improper measuring of the distance and etc. SOURCES OF ERRORS: While the group are doing the experiment. the law of conservation of energy are taken into account and they remained fixed together. After the pendulum catches the ball. They both start to move and gain some height thus losing kinetic energy but gaining potential energy. The computed velocities of the steel ball before collision from the two methods are quite close to each other which is the reason why the calculated percent difference in Table 3 is 3. the energy is conserved. not precise measurements on the height and horizontal distance of the projectile motion and the initial and final height of the pendulum. The pendulum will stop until it reached its maximum height and lost its kinetic energy transferring it to potential energy. I recommend you to make sure to take precautions about it to lessen the percentage of error in your results. In short. the group encounter also some errors that affect our results. For those readers that will do this experiment. Table 3: The discrepancies came mostly on the second part of the experiment method because it is more on human error like the misalignment of the launcher. these errors has not a very significant effect to our experiment. In the first part of the experiment.Table 2: Analyzing the data from Table 2. misread of angles. the values of horizontal distance are precise. It might contribute some errors but these errors are not big enough to make our experiment failed to meet its objectives.  Personal Errors  Improper positioning of pendulum Despite of many errors. . the steel ball which has initial momentum is fired into a ballistic pendulum which is initially at rest therefore having zero momentum.58 percent only.

Although there are discrepancies in the results these are basically because of human error in which researchers cannot avoid. Going back to the objectives that was stated.On the other hand. . the group could therefore conclude that this experiment could verify that energy conservation and momentum conservation can be used with a ballistic pendulum to determine the initial velocity of a projectile of the steel ball and also to validate the velocity of the steel ball by applying the lessons learned in projectile motion. the trajectory method doesn’t have much accurate results because of the human errors especially in measurements. As a conclusion. Ballistic method is more suitable method in determining the steel ball’s velocity in order to prove the principles of conservation of energy and momentum.