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AP Physics

School

Introduction

In Physics, momentum is defined as the quantity, or amount of

motion stored within an object. It is also the product of its mass times its

velocity. Momentum is a conserved quantity, meaning the momentum must

be equal throughout if there is no external force. Momentum can be used to

calculate the speed of an object before, during, and after a collision. Using

the Law of Conservation of Momentum, we can state that the pre-collision

and post-collision momentum must be equal, for a ny collision where there

is no net external force. Collisions can be divided further into two subtypes:

elastic and inelastic. In an elastic collision, two objects collide, then do not

stick together. Thus, both momentum and kinetic energy is conserved. In

an inelastic collision, however, the objects stick together. As a result only

momentum is conserved. The purpose of this experiment is to explore the

two types of collisions by using test cars on a frictionless rail. We will try to

find whether or not momentum and kinetic energy is conserved.

m1v1i +

m2v2i =

m1v1f +

m2v2f m1v1i +

m2v2i = (m1+ m2)vf

Objective

two types of collision (Elastic and Inelastic collision)

Materials

1. 2 vernier carts

2. Low friction vernier track

3. Stopwatch

4. Mass scale

Procedure

1. Measure the mass of each cart and record

2. Place the carts along the track, 20 cm apart each

other.

3. Push one cart into the other that is at rest. Timing

from the start to the moment of impact. A second

timer should also be started from the moment of

impact until the second car had made 20 cm.

4. Calculate the velocity by using the formula distance,

20 cm, over time taken.

5. Record data.

6. Repeat steps but this time do it with the side of the

car that can stick together for an inelastic collision.

Data and Analysis

Elastic Collision

Cart 1

Mass = 513.86 g

Initial Velocity = 0 cm/s (at rest)

Final Velocity = 14.23 cm/s (away from cart 2)

Cart 2

Mass = 507.20 g

Initial Velocity = 18.67 cm/s (toward cart 1)

Final Velocity = 0 cm/s (at rest)

We plug in the data into the formula of law of conservation of momentum in an elastic collision

m2v2i =

m1v1i + m1v1f +

m2v2f

momentum before is (513.86g)(0cm/s) + (507.20g)(18.67cm/s) = 9469 N s

momentum after is (513.86g)(14.23cm/s) + (507.20g)(0cm/s) = 7312 N s

The momentum was not conserved due to friction, small air resistance, and the human error

imprecise measuring of time and the distance of cart travelled in millimeter that turned into

inaccurate velocity. The momentum after collision is less than the momentum before collision

Data and Analysis

Inelastic Collision

Cart 1

Mass = 513.86 g

Initial Velocity = 0 cm/s (at rest)

Final Velocity = 13.33 cm/s (stick with cart 2)

Cart 2

Mass = 507.20 g

Initial Velocity = 26.67 cm/s (toward cart 1)

Final Velocity = 13.33 cm/s (stick with cart 1)

We plug in the data into the formula of law of conservation of momentum in an inelastic collision

m2v2i =

m1v1i + (m1+ m2)vf

Momentum before is (513.86g)(0cm/s) + (507.20g)(26.67cm/s) = 13527 N s

Momentum after is (513.86g + 507.20g)(13.33cm/s) = 13610 N s

The momentum after collision is a little bit more than the momentum before collision. This has to

do with the little difference of masses of two carts and also friction, small air resistance, and

timing errors.

% difference = 2(momentumbefore collision - momentumafter collision) x 100

momentumbefore collision + momentumafter collision

To calculate the percent of difference of momentum before and after the collision

In the elastic collision, the difference is 25% that was done by friction, air resistance, and human

errors. And inelastic collision, it was only 1% difference that came from the little difference in

masses.

Conclusion

In conclusion we can state that there will

never be a real world situation where the

momentum and Kinetic energy is totally

conserved. This is due to the fact that some

of the energy will always be loss to outside

factors. Such as the low-friction track, there

is still friction on the track , and with outside

force, momentum and Kinetic energy is not

conserved

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