You are on page 1of 7

# Momentum & Collisions

AP Physics

School

## Anon Durongpisitkul 5861002

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.

## Elastic collision Inelastic collision

m1v1i +
m2v2i =
m1v1f +
m2v2f m1v1i +
m2v2i = (m1+ m2)vf
Objective

## To demonstrate the law of conservation of momentum by the experiment of

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
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

## Momentum before collision = Momentum after 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

## Momentum before collision = Momentum after 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.

## The momentums were not completely conserved. We use the equation

% 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