# Physics Part IA

Cambridge University, 2012-2013

Notes for Dynamics:
Ideal bodies:
When dealing with ideal systems in dynamics, the bodies involved are
considered to be ideal bodies as follows:
Ideal masses:
 Ideal masses are perfectly rigid.

For an extended body of mass
mass

m

m , gravity acts as it would on a point

located at the centre of mass of the extended body.

Ideal springs:

Ideal springs obey Hooke’s law such that

For springs of a particular type/rigidity,

l

as

F=

Ideal

Ideal

λ
l , where

λ

F ∝ x , F=−kx .
k

varies with unstretched length

is a property of the particular spring type. Thus

−λ
x , so that longer springs require less force to achieve the same
l

extension.
Ideal springs have no mass.
Ideal springs act in just one dimension.
strings:
Ideal strings do not stretch.
Ideal strings have no mass and are often referred to as ‘light strings’.
Ideal strings provide a way of transferring force from one end to the other.
pulleys:
Ideal pulleys have no mass.
Ideal pulleys are frictionless.

Friction:
Microscopic description of friction:
 Two surfaces are placed into contact interact at the molecular level to
decrease their surface energies
 When the surfaces in contact are moved parallel to each other, the
interactions between surface electrons are weakened, raising the energies
of the surfaces
 Some of the energy exerted on the objects is therefore by these
interactions, rather than being converted into kinetic energy
 This absorbed energy is the work done against friction, and as such, it
exerts a force in the opposite direction to the applied force
Coefficients of friction:
The coefficients of friction are the constants of proportionality between the
frictional force

Ff

acting on an object due to a given surface, and the normal

Physics Part IA
Cambridge University, 2012-2013
reaction force

N

N

exerted by the surface on the object.

Ff ∝ N

since a higher

indicates a higher degree of interaction between objects.

There are two different coefficients of friction – the coefficient of static friction (

μs ) and the coefficient of dynamic friction ( μd ). It is always the case that

μs ≥ μ d , since when an object is moving relative to a surface, the interactions
between its molecules and those of the surface are not so strong as when it is
stationary relative to the surface.

max Where Coefficient of dynamic friction ( is the maximum force which can be exerted parallel to the plane of contact. Kinematics: The standard kinematic equations for uniform acceleration can be derived via vector integration as follows: v´ =´a t+ u´ : ´v t d ´v a´ = ∴d v´ =´a dt ∴ ∆ ´v =∫ d v´ =∫ a´ dt dt ´u 0 ∴ ´v −´u =´a t ∴ v´ = a´ t+ u´ 1 ´s =´u t + a´ t 2 : 2 ´s v´ = t t d ´s ∴ d ´s =´v dt ∴ ´s =∫ d ´s =∫ v´ dt=∫ a´ t + u´ dt dt ´0 0 0 t [ ] 1 1 ∴ ´s = u´ t+ a´ t 2 ∴ ´s =´u t+ a´ t 2 2 2 0 2 a´ ´s = ´v 2−u´ 2 : v´ =´a t+ u´ ∴ t= ´v −´u a´ v´ −´u 1 v´ −´u 2 ∴ ´s =´u + a´ = a´ 2 a´ ( ) ( ) 1 1 2 1 2 u´ ( ´v −´u ) + ( v´ −´u )2 v− u 2 2 2 = ´a a´ 1 1 ∴ ´a ´s = v´ 2− u´ 2 ∴ 2 a´ ´s =´v 2−´u 2 2 2 .max =μs N μd ): The coefficient of friction between a surface and an object when that object is moving. Where Ff is the frictional force exerted on the object by the surface as the object moves along it.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. without disturbing the state of static equilibrium. ∴ F f =μd N F f . 2012-2013 Coefficients of friction: Coefficient of static friction ( μs ): The coefficient of friction between a surface and an object when that object is not moving: ∴ F f .

when d ´s h uv = (2 cos 2θ) dθ g´ ´s h is maximum. It relates the net force acting on the body ´ F The constant of proportionality between force ´ P . 0 ≤θ ≤ π 2 : π π 2 cos 2θ=0 ∴ 2θ= ∴ θ= =45° ∎ 2 4 Equations of motion: A body’s equation of motion results from applying Newton’s Second Law ´ F=d P´ /dt to that body. to its motion. specified by ´ F and acceleration a´ is .Physics Part IA Cambridge University. the rotation of the Earth (Coriolis force) and weather patterns) fired at an angle of 45° will achieve maximum range: a´ h u´ v u v´ v v θ u´ h t=0 ´sh 0 t=T ´s h T ´s h=∫ d ´s=∫ 0 a´ v v´ h Horizontal motion: T ´v h+ u´ h dt=∫ u´ h dt=uT cos θ 2 0 Vertical motion: ´v v T T ∫ d v´ =∫ a´ v dt=∫−g´ dt ∴ ´v v −u´ v=−g´ T ∴−2 ´uv =− ´g T ´uv 0 0 ∴2 v sin θ=´g T ∴T = 2 v sinθ g´ Substituting vertical motion into horizontal motion: ´s h=u ( 2 v sing´ θ ) cos θ= uv´g ( 2sin θ cos θ )= uv´g ( sin 2θ ) ∴ Thus. 2012-2013 Projectile motion: The kinematic equations for uniform acceleration can be used to show that an ideal projectile (neglecting the effects of air resistance.

. 2012-2013 called the ‘inertial mass’ of the object. it is positive. and quantifies the reluctance of the body to change its velocity in response to a force: ´ ´ d P =m d v´ =m a´ F= dt dt Where acceleration a´ is proportional to applied force and hence always in the direction of the applied force. The following sign conventions apply:  If velocity/acceleration is in the direction of increasing displacement. it is negative.  If velocity/acceleration is in the direction of decreasing displacement. and mass m is a scalar quantity.Physics Part IA Cambridge University.

A eαt ≠ 0 ∴ α=±i l l ) −i +B e √ √ g´ =ω 0 l g´ t l and considering only the real/physical part of the motion: ´ θ(t)∝ cos(ω 0 t ) . inextensible strong of length l m is as follows: ´s θ´ d ´s d θ´ d 2 ´s d 2 θ´ = ∴ ´s =l θ´ ∴ =l ∴ 2 =l 2 2 π 2 πl dt dt dt dt Resolving forces perpendicular to the string: 2´ ´ T =−m g´ sin θ=ml d θ F d t2 2´ ´ d θ ∴− g´ sin θ=l d t2 This is the equation of motion of the simple pendulum. and can be used to find the form of the motion ´ θ(t) as follows: Let ( ∴ A e αt α 2+ ´ Ae ∴ θ= i Letting √ ´g t l ´´ 2 αt ´ A eαt ∴ θ= θ= Aα e : √ g´ ´g =0.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. 2012-2013 Fundamental equations of motion: Linear motion: Rotational motion: 2 d ´v d ´s a´ =v´´ = ´´s ∨a´ = = 2 dt d t ´ ∴ F=m d 2 ´s d t2 ´ d ´v d 2 θ´ a´ =v´´ = ´θ∨a´ = = 2 dt d t ´ ∴ F=m d 2 θ´ dt2 Equation of motion for a simple pendulum: The equation of motion for a simple pendulum consisting of a mass suspended on a light.

Physics Part IA Cambridge University. thus the potential energy of the system increases such that: ´x 2 W 12=U ( ´x )=∫ F´ 12 ∙ d ´x ´x 1 ∴ F´ 12 = dU d ´x Work done by a system: Work done by a system is given by: ´x 2 W 21=∫ F´ 21 ∙ d ´x ´x 1 Where ´ 21 F is the force exerted by the system to move some object through displacement ´x 1 → x´ 2 . 2012-2013 Work and potential energy: Work is defined as the cumulative product of force and displacement in the direction of this force (scalar quantities) or as the cumulative projection of displacement onto applied force (vector quantities): Work done on a system: Work done on a system is given by: ´x 2 W 12=∫ F´ 12 ∙ d ´x ´x 1 Where ´ 12 F is the force applied to the system to move it through displacement ´x 1 → x´ 2 . Mechanical energy is converted to potential energy. thus the potential energy of the system decreases such that: ´x 2 W 21=−U ( ´x ) ∴U ( ´x )=−∫ F´ 21 ∙ d ´x ´x 1 ∴ F´ 21 = −dU d ´x Types of potential energy: ´ Elastic potential energy ( U k ( x ) ): Defined as the work done to extend or compress a spring by a distance ´x 0 : . Potential energy is converted to mechanical energy.

2012-2013 ´x0 ´x 0 [ ] ´ ∙ d ´x =∫ k x´ ∙ d ´x = 1 k x´ 2 U k ( ´x ) =∫ F 2 0 0 1 ∴U k ( ´x )= k ´x 02 2 ´x0 0 .Physics Part IA Cambridge University.

If an amount of work a time interval dW d P= = dt dt ( ´x dt . such that   d2U <0 d x´ 2 Infinitesimal movements in either direction will cause an energy decrease. thus will be energetically unfavourable. the equilibrium positions of a system are the values of ´x for which U ( ´x ) has a stationary point: the function Stable equilibrium position: U ( ´x ) is at a minimum. 2012-2013 ´ Gravitational potential energy ( U g ( x ) ): Defined as the work done to lift an object to a height h h : h h ´ ∙ d ´x =∫ m ´g ∙ d ´x =[ m g´ ´x ] 0 U k ( ´x ) =∫ F 0 0 ∴U k ( ´x )=m ´g h Potential energy and equilibrium: If a system is in equilibrium. F´ 21=−dU =0 F d ´x d ´x Thus. then the power is given by: ) ´x ´v d ´x ∫ F´ ∙ d ´x =∫ F´ ∙ dt =∫ F´ ∙ d ´v 0 0 0 W =∫ F´ ∙d ´x 0 is done over . it has no net force acting upon it. and hence the system will remain at the equilibrium position Unstable equilibrium position: U ( ´x ) is at a maximum. thus will be energetically favourable. such that the forces acting on it become unbalanced and it accelerates Power and kinetic energy: Power: ´x Power is the rate of doing work. and hence the system will move away from the equilibrium position. such that: ´ 12= dU =0.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. such that  d2 U >0 d x´ 2  Infinitesimal movements in either direction will cause an energy increase. and is exerting no net force on its surroundings.

Physics Part IA Cambridge University. the expression is simplified to: P= F´ ∙ ´v Thus: v´ P=∫ F´ ∙ d v´ ≡ F´ ∙ v´ 0 . 2012-2013 If the force ´ F is constant with respect to time.

This produces a change in kinetic energy x´ 2 ´x 2 1 1 t ∆T : ´v 2 d v´ d v´ W =∫ F´ ∙d ´x =∫ m ∙ d ´x =∫ m ∙ ´v dt=∫ m v´ ∙ d ´v dt dt x´ ´x 0 ´v 1 ´v 2 [ v2 ] [ ] 1 1 1 1 ∴ ∆ T = m ´v 2 = m v 2 = m v 22− m v 12 2 2 2 2 ´v v 1 1 Thus.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. which is gradually tilted until the mass slides down the plane. 2012-2013 Kinetic energy ( T ): Kinetic energy is the form of energy associated with an object’s speed. for an object accelerated to speed v from 0 . a component of force is applied parallel to the direction of increasing displacement. the sum of kinetic and potential energy stored within the system is conserved: ∆ T + ∆ V =0 The law of the conservation of energy is useful when all stores of energy within a system are quantitatively known. When an unknown amount of energy is dissipated from the system. Specifically. the total energy in all its forms is conserved. What fraction of gravitational potential energy is converted to heat? N Find the angle θ at which the mass begins to slide: Ff mg θ mg sinθ=F f =N μ s ∴ mgsin θ=mg μ s cos θ Find total loss of gravitational potential energy: . Example using the conservation of energy: A mass is placed on a rough plane of length l . at which point the angle is fixed with a corresponding height of h . When work is done on a body. the kinetic energy gained is given by: 1 2 T= mv 2 The conservation of energy: In any closed. hence its speed must necessarily change. the law becomes less useful. complete system.

Physics Part IA Cambridge University. no change in momentum occurs if no external force acts. 2012-2013 ∆ V =mg ∆ h=−mgl sin θ Find work done against friction. which dissipates energy as heat: W f =N μd l=μ d l( mgcos θ) Express the energy dissipated as a fraction of the total loss of potential energy: W f μ d l( mgcos θ) μ μ = = d = d ∆V −mgl sin θ tanθ μ s Momentum: ´ ) is the product of the mass of a body Momentum ( p m and its velocity v´ as follows: ´p=m v´ Thus momentum is a vector quantity with the same direction as velocity. Newton originally formulated his Second Law in terms of the rate of change of momentum: ´ = d ´p F dt Thus the direction in which momentum changes is the same direction as that in which force is applied. The conservation of momentum: By Newton’s Second Law. Thus. and are subject to external forces: Newton’s Second Law: The rate of change of momentum of the n th particle in the system is given by: N d ´pn =( F´ n )ext + F´ 1→ n + F´ 2→ n +…+ F´ N →n=∑ F´ i → n dt i=1 The total rate of change of momentum of all the particles in the system is given by: .’ Derivation of the conservation of momentum: Consider a system of N particles which interact with each other according to Newton’s Third Law. if a system is isolated. momentum does not change but is constant in every direction: ‘The total linear momentum of an isolated system is constant.

Physics Part IA Cambridge University. the rate of change of momentum of the system is zero in all directions: ∴ ´ dP =0 →momentum is conserved dt . 2012-2013 ´ d ´p1 d ´p2 d ´p3 d ´p N N d ´p i dP = + + + …+ =∑ dt dt dt dt dt i=1 dt Newton’s Third Law: Fi → j=−F j → i . such that: N ´ dP =( F´ 1 )ext + ( F´ 2 )ext + ( F´ 3 )ext +…+ ( F´ n ) ext =∑ ( F´ i )ext dt i=1 N Thus. thus all the internal forces cancel out. if the system is isolated such that ∑ ( F´ i )ext =0 i=1 .

it can be neglected: 0=m∆ v +∆ m v ej ∴ m∆ v=−∆ m v ej ∴ ∆ v −∆ m = v ej m Integrating this equation: vf ∆v ∫v vi ej mf =−∫ mi m v −v m ∆ m v f −v i ∴ =−ln f ∴ f i =ln i m v ej mi v ej mf ∴ v f −v i=v ej ln mi mf Or. both its mass and velocity change.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. As a rocket is propelled forward by the ejection of its fuel. if the rocket is initially at rest: v f =v ej ln mi mf Impulse ( Q ): Impulse ( Q ) is the cumulative effect of a force on a system over an interval of time ∆t : . The general situation is as follows: Before ejection of fuel: Time t : After ejection of fuel: Time v t+ ∆ t : v+∆ v v ej −v m −∆ m m+ ∆ m By the conservation of momentum: mv=( m+ ∆ m ) ( v +∆ v )+ (−∆ m) (−( v ej−v ) ) ∴ mv=mv+∆ mv +m ∆ v + ∆ m∆ v+ ∆ m v ej−∆ mv ∴ 0=m ∆ v + ∆ m ∆ v +∆ m v ej Since the second-order term ∆m∆v is much smaller than all the other terms. 2012-2013 Rockets: An important application of the conservation of momentum is to the flight of rockets. and thus the conservation of momentum can be applied to find the final velocity of the rocket in terms of the mass and velocity of the ejected fuel.

over which force can be considered approximately constant: Q= F´ ∆ t=∆ ´p Relationship between impulse and average force exerted: Since the average force exerted over an interval of time ∆t is given by t Fav =∫ F´ dt / ∆ t . 2012-2013 t t ´pf d ´p Q=∫ F´ dt ∴Q=∫ dt=∫ d ´p = ´p f − ´p i=∆ ´p dt ´p 0 0 i It is most useful in describing forces which act over brief periods ∆ t .Physics Part IA Cambridge University. the relationship between impulse and average force is: 0 Q=F av ∆ t .

Types of collision: Elastic: Kinetic energy is conserved. ∴ v= M m By the conservation of kinetic energy: 1 1 1 M V 2 +m v 2 M u2= M V 2+ mv 2 ∴u 2= 2 2 2 M Therefore: ( MV +mv 2 M V 2 +m v 2 ( 2 = ∴ MV +m v ) =M ( M V 2 +m v 2 ) M M ) ∴ M 2 V 2+ 2mMvV + m2 v 2=M 2 V 2+ mM v 2 ∴2 MvV + mv 2 =M v2 ∴ v ( M −m )=2 MV Substituting to find v : Substituting to find V : . since no matter what happens within an isolated system (including collisions). which may be dissipated as heat and sound.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. unlike energy. Modelling collisions: Both perfectly elastic and perfectly inelastic collisions can be modelled. 2012-2013 Collisions: The conservation of momentum is highly relevant in many types of collision. Perfectly inelastic: The colliding objects stick together and energy is dissipated. in general. Otherwise: The colliding objects move away separately and energy is dissipated. as follows: Perfectly elastic collisions: The result of a perfectly elastic collision between two masses m M and depends on the relative sizes of these masses: Before collision: After collision: V u v By the conservation of momentum: Mu=MV +mv ∴ u= ∴V = MV + mv M Mu−mv Mu−MV . momentum must always be conserved.

2012-2013 v ( M −m )=2 M ( Mu−mv =2( Mu−mv) M ) ∴ v ( M +m )=2 Mu ∴ v= 2 Mu M +m Mu−MV 2 Mu 2 mMu = ∴ MV =Mu− m M +m M +m ∴ MV = 2 ( M −m ) u M u−mMu ∴V= M +m M+m .Physics Part IA Cambridge University.

 If m∎M : T f ≈ 0 . the first mass stops and the second mass moves off at its original velocity.  M≪ m : If m v ≈0 If V ≈−u . thus the collision is nearly elastic. Perfectly inelastic collisions: The result of a perfectly inelastic collision between two masses m and M depends on the relative sizes of these masses: Before collision: After collision: v u By the conservation of momentum: Mu=( M+ m) v ∴ v= Mu M +m Thus. the initial and final kinetic energies are given by: 1 1 Mu 2 1 M 2 u2 T i = M u2 .  M≫ m : If v ≈ 2u original velocity.  and M M =m : V =0 and v =u . 2012-2013 Result of perfectly elastic collisions:  M > m : Both If v and V are positive. but in opposite directions. therefore M effectively rebounds off and moves back towards its starting position with close to its original speed.T f = ( M + m ) = 2 2 M +m 2 M+m ( ∴T f = ) M T M +m i Result of perfectly inelastic collisions:  If m∎M : T f ≈ T i . is positive and V is negative. with moving back towards its starting position. which remains almost stationary. therefore both masses move off with non-zero velocities. therefore both masses move off in the same direction with a non-zero velocity.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. therefore and m M continues at close to its moves off at twice this original velocity. and  M<m : If v V ≈u . such that all momentum is transferred from the first to the second mass. M . thus almost all kinetic energy is dissipated and simply sticks to m .

Physics Part IA Cambridge University. 2012-2013  If m=M : and m 1 T f = T i . thus half the kinetic energy is dissipated. M . and 2 move off together with a non-zero velocity.

v´ ' a´ ' and ' t=t =0 . when they are experiencing no net external force The Earth’s surface is usually taken to approximate an inertial reference frame at short distances and low velocities. S' S and S' S in the standard configuration: u u x  The velocity of  The motion of the object in S  The motion of the object in S'  Initially. z)  Objects are assigned spatial co-ordinates   reference An observer is defined by a set of spatial co-ordinates.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. unless an external force is applied Non-inertial frame of reference:  Newton’s First Law is not valid  The frame of reference itself is accelerating. such that objects in the reference frame do not accelerate relative to it. then: Event x ' =x−ut y'= y z ' =z . causing objects within it to accelerate relative to it. an inertial frame of reference is a frame of reference which is not accelerating. y' . that body’s velocity will not change – the body will not accelerate  Thus. Galilean transformations: Galilean transformations are essentially relationships between the displacements. x´ '=( x' . relative to frame of Inertial and non-inertial frames of reference: Inertial frame of reference:  Newton’s First Law is valid  If no net force acts on a body. y . z' ) If origins were aligned at ' t=t =0 . at  The frames are non-relativistic. velocity or acceleration relative to some absolute reference frame ( x . y . z ) . ´v is parallel to a´ and x´ ' . for which its rotation on its axis and its orbit around the Sun can be neglected. such that the times in both are always equal. relative to is and is defined by is defined by ´x . velocities and accelerations of objects in motion are measured:  All frames of reference are equivalent and any frame of reference can be chosen for a system  Thus no object has an absolute displacement. An event is defined by a set of spatial co-ordinates. velocities and accelerations of events relative to two different inertial frames of reference. the origins of the frames are aligned t=t ' Displacement transformation or ‘Galilean co-ordinate transformation’: In one dimension only: ´x =( x . 2012-2013 Frames of reference: A frame of reference is simply a reference frame relative to which the displacements.

2012-2013 x x' ut .Physics Part IA Cambridge University.

. ' ∴ a =a Such that all inertial observers measure the same acceleration for an event.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. . . a '= . since none are themselves accelerating. Newton’s laws of motion under Galilean transformations:  The forces between objects depend only on their relative positions from each other  Galilean transformations do not alter the relative positions of objects. then: in direction of velocity (one dimension only). dt dt dt dt ' dt ' dt ' ) ( ( ) d x ' d x ' dx x =x−ut ∴ ' = = −u dt dt dt ' y'= y ∴ z ' =z ∴ ' ' d y d y dy = = dt ' dt dt d z ' d z' dz = = dt ' dt dt Therefore. . v '= . d t 2 d t2 d t 2 d t '2 d t ' 2 d t '2 ( v ' =v−ut ∴ ∴ ) ( ) d x ' dx d 2 x' d 2 x = −u ∴ = d t ' dt d t' 2 d t 2 d y ' dy d 2 y ' d2 y = ∴ '2 = 2 dt ' dt dt dt ' 2 ' 2 d z dz d z d z ∴ ' = ∴ '2= 2 d t dt dt dt Since the reference frames are both inertial. . 2012-2013 Velocity transformation: In one dimension only: dx dy dz ´ d x' d y' d z' v´ = . if origins were aligned at v ' =v−u ' t=t =0 . . Acceleration transformation: In one dimension only: d2 x d2 y d2 z ´ d2 x ' d2 y ' d 2 z ' a´ = . as they do not take the postulates of special relativity into account . and hence u is constant.

Kinetic energy in inertial frames of reference: Reference frame n ∆ T =∑ i=0 ( S : 1 1 m v 2− m u2 2 i i 2 i i ) n ∆ T '=∑ i=0 ( 12 m ( v −w ) − 12 m (u −w ) ) 2 i n And the reference frame is inertial. The analysis of the dynamics of an accelerating system can often be simplified by considering the instantaneous rest frame of an object in the system. its instantaneous rest frame is inertial. even if an object is accelerating. since the object is only defined as being at rest relative to the frame for an instant. and respectively. although the total kinetic energy may vary due to the differing relative velocities of these frames of reference. the case of finding the rebound height of a very small ball dropped . S ' . therefore n ∴ ∆ T '=∑ i=0 ∆ ´ptotal=0 n ∴ ∆ T ' =∑ i=0 ∴ ∑ ( mi vi −mi ui ) =0 i=0 S' : Reference frame n ∴ ∆ T ' =∑ i=0 n ∴ ∆ T =∑ ' i=0 2 i i i ( 12 m ( v −u −2 w ( v −u ))) ( i 2 i 2 i i n i 1 1 mi ( v 2i −u 2i ) −2 w ∑ mi ( v i−ui ) 2 i=0 2 ) ( 12 m ( v −u ))−w ∆ ´p i 2 i 2 i ( ) total ( 12 m ( v −u ))=∆ T i 2 i 2 i ∴ ∆ T ' =∆ T Instantaneous rest frames: An instantaneous rest frame is an inertial reference frame in which a particular object is instantaneously at rest.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. For example. N This can be proven for a general system of   S . the In one inertial reference frame u´ i and final velocity v´ i particles with masses mi : i th particle has initial velocity after an interaction. moving at velocity In another inertial reference frame u´ i−w to the first. Thus. the initial and final velocities are w´ relative v´ i−w . 2012-2013   Thus Newton’s laws of motion are ‘Galilean invariant’ – they are the same in different frames of reference which are distinguished by Galilean transformations Thus Newton’s laws of motion are the same in all inertial frames of reference Kinetic energy in inertial frames of reference: The change in kinetic energy of a system observed in any inertial frame of reference is the same.

Physics Part IA Cambridge University. can be solved using from a height instantaneous rest frames as follows: Laboratory frame after M has hit Instantaneous rest frame of the ground M it has hit the ground: v v Instantaneous rest frame of hitting M after m : Laboratory frame after collision between balls: v v Therefore. just above a very big ball. the rebound height of 1 2 V i=mgh=T i= m v 2 1 2 V f =mgH = m ( 3 v ) =9 T i 2 ∴ H =9 h m is found as follows: after . 2012-2013 h .

2012-2013 The Zero Momentum (ZM) frame: The Zero Momentum frame is a special inertial reference frame moving at such a velocity relative to a system that the total momentum of that system is zero. This makes the dynamics after the collision very easy to visualise. Velocity of the ZM frame: The velocity of the ZM frame for a system can be found in terms of the velocities and masses of the elements of a system by considering the relationship between the total momentum of the system in two different inertial reference frames. Transformations between inertial reference frames do not alter the relative motion of the objects in a system. the velocity u´ =´v ZM of the system is given by: n ∑ mi v´ i v´ ZM = ´ total i=1 p = n M ∑ mi = Total momentum of system Total mass of system i=1 The ZM frame and collisions: The ZM frame is particularly useful for solving problems involving collisions. Thus. Therefore the dynamics of an interaction can therefore be simplified by transforming into the ZM frame. with a relative velocity of u . thus u=v ZM : Momentum in the laboratory frame: n Momentum in the ZM frame: n ´ptotal=∑ m i v´ i ´ total =∑ m i ( ´v i−´u )=0 p' i=1 i=1 n n n i=1 i=1 i=1 ∴ 0=∑ mi v´ i−´u ∑ m i=∑ mi v´ i −´u M Where M is the total mass of all the components in the system. The general method for applying the ZM frame to collisions is as follows: . or their net change in momentum. the net momentum of objects in the reference frame both before and after an interaction is zero. their net change in kinetic energy. ∴ 0= ´ptotal −M u´ Thus. making the interaction particularly easy to visualise and manipulate in the ZM frame. where S' S is the ZM frame. since the conservation of momentum means that momentum must be zero both before and after the collision has occurred. then back to the laboratory frame.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. and S ' .

 Transform the situation before the collision to the ZM frame by subtracting   v´ ZM to find the velocity of the components of the system relative to the ZM frame. . Transform the situation after the collision back into the laboratory frame by adding v´ ZM (subtracting the relative velocity of the laboratory frame) to find the velocity of the components relative to the laboratory frame. 2012-2013 v ZM .Physics Part IA Cambridge University.  Find the velocity of the ZM frame. and whether or not energy is added to the system during the collision. Find the final velocities of the objects after the collision in the ZM frame by applying the conservation of momentum and considering what happens to the energy depending on whether the collision is elastic or inelastic.

v = m+ M m+M 2 MV m 2 =M ( U ' ) +m ' 2 ( ) MU m .Physics Part IA Cambridge University. 2012-2013 General collisions in the ZM frame: General elastic collision: The ZM frame can be used as follows to deduce the result of a perfectly elastic M collision between masses and m : Before: After: Laborator y frame: v θm V0 θM V ZM frame: v ZM = MV0 M+m mV 0 m+ M v' M V0 m+ M ϕ ϕ V' By the conservation of kinetic energy: ' 2 ' 2 ' 2 ' 2 M ( V ) +m ( v ) =M ( U ) +m ( u ) By the conservation of momentum: M V ' −mv ' =0∴ v ' = MV' m M U ' −mu' =0 ∴ u' = MU m ' Combining the two conservation laws: ' 2 ( ) M M ∴(V ) ( M + =∴ ( U ) ( M + ) m m ) 2 M ( V ' ) +m 2 ' 2 ' 2 ' ∴V =U ' ' MV ∴u = =v ' ∴ v ' =u ' m ' ∴V ' = mV0 ' MV 0 .

v= ϕ =0 . the two masses must have the same velocities after the collision as before the collision.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. hence momentum in the ZM frame must be zero in all directions General collisions in the ZM frame: General elastic collision: A vector diagram can be used to transform the system from the ZM frame back to the laboratory frame as follows:  The final velocities v θM θm v ZM V ϕ M V0 m+ M V v and of the masses in the laboratory frame can be deduced from this diagram using basic trigonometry. since linear momentum must be conserved in all directions. 2012-2013 Conclusions:  If the collision is elastic. General perfectly inelastic collision: The ZM frame can be used as follows to deduce the result of a perfectly elastic collision between masses Before: and m : After: Laborator y frame: V0 ZM frame: M M V0 m+ M . and by trigonometry: 2 MV0 M V 0 mV 0 V 0 ( M −m ) . m=M . the masses still have to move apart at exactly opposing angles. and thus the vector diagram becomes a right-angled triangle.V = − = m+ M m+ M M + m M +m 2. in order for both kinetic energy and momentum in all angle directions to be conserved If the collision is inelastic. with opposing directions at some ϕ . in which case 2θ m +2θ M =π ∴ θm +θ M = π 2 . in which case the collision is head-on. mV 0 m+ M Special cases: 1.

Thus. they must travel at M V0 m+ M in the laboratory frame.Physics Part IA Cambridge University. 2012-2013 v ZM = MV0 M+m mV 0 m+ M M V0 m+ M Since the particles stick together. they must come to rest in the ZM frame in order to satisfy the condition of net zero momentum. .