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# Understanding Inertia

INERTIA the tendency of the object to remain at rest or, if moving, to continue its motion in a straight line.  An object in a state of rest tends to remain at rest.  An object in a state of motion tends to stay in motion.

Newton s First Law of Motion LAW 1. THE LAW OF INERTIA. A body will remain at rest, or in a state of uniform motion, unless acted upon by a net external force.

It is associated with an object s mass more mass, more inertia. Inertia is NOT a force.

## Situations involving inertia

Objects originally at rest

## Relationship between Mass and Inertia

The mass of an object is the amount or quantity of matter contained in the object. The characteristics of mass: (a) the mass of an object is constant wherever it is measured; it is not affected by the gravitational force. (b) mass is a base quantity (c) mass is a scalar quantity Mass can influence the effects of inertia. The following investigation shows the relationship between mass and inertia

Two identical buckets are hung from the celling as shown. Their distance from the ceiling is the same. One bucket is filled with sand while the other bucket is empty.

When the same degree of force is applied to each bucket , the bucket filled with sand offers more resistance to movement as compared to the empty bucket. When both buckets are oscillating and an attempt is made to stop them, the bucket filled with sand offers more resistance to the hand. This shows that the heavier bucket offers a greater resistance to change from its state of rest or from its state of motion. Conclusion: An object with a larger mass has a larger inertia

## Effects of Inertia in Daily Life

The head of a hammer is secured tightly to its handle by knocking end of the handled, held vertically, on a hard surface. This causes the hammer head to continue on its downward motion when the handle has been stopped, so that the top end of the handle is slotted deeper into the hammer head.

Animal such as dogs and cats dry their wet fur by shaking their bodies vigorously. Water droplets on the fur tend to continue in motion when the body has stopped shaking. As a result, water droplets are separated from the fur and fall away.

Droplets of water on a wet umbrella are spun off when the umbrella is rotated and stopped abruptly. The droplets of water initially move with the rotating umbrella. The inertia of the droplets of water causes them to continue moving even when the umbrella has stooped spinning.

Chili sauce in a bottle is poured out by a quick downward movement of the bottle followed by a sudden stop. The sauce in the bottle moves with the bottle during the downward movement. When the bottle is stopped, the inertia of the sauce causes it to continue in its downward movement and thus the sauce is forced out of the bottle.

When the branch of a rambutan tree is shaken, the fruit fall to the ground. The fruit which is initially stationary tend to resist the change in motion when the branch is shaken. As a result, the fruit stalks are strained and break away from the branch.

## Ways of Reducing the Effects of inertia in a car

(a) Seat belts The driver and passengers must use seat belts while they are in the car. Their seat belts secure the passengers to their seats and prevent them from being thrown forward or headlong into the widescreen. (b) Air bag system air bags, mounted on the dashboard or steering wheel, expand automatically when a collision occurs. The bag protects the driver and passengers from crashing onto the dashboard in front.

2.4 Momentum
It is more difficult for a large ship filled with cargo to be docked in a harbour than a small ship. It is easier for a person to stop while he is walking than while he is running. A heavy truck is harder to stop than a small car moving at the same speed. We state that this fact by saying that the truck has more momentum than the car. The resistance to a change of state of motion of an object depends on two factors mass and velocity of the object.

Momentum is defined as the product of mass and velocity. Momentum = mass x velocity (mass in motion) Or, in shorthand notation Momentum = m x v

Momentum is a vector quantity. It has both magnitude and direction. The SI unit of momentum is kg m s-1 or N s Momentum increases when (a) the mass increases (b) the velocity increases (c) both of the mass and velocity increase. The direction of the momentum follows the direction of the velocity. A + sign denotes the right direction and a - sign denotes the left direction.

For example, a billiard ball A of mass 0.5 kg is moving from left to right with a velocity of 2 ms-1 while another billiard ball B of equal mass is moving from right to left with the same speed.
A

2 ms-1

2 ms-1

0.5 kg

0.5 kg

## Momentum of ball B = mBvB = 0.5 kg x (- 2 ms-1) = - 1 kg ms-1

AN OBJECT WITH A LARGER MOMENTUM REQUIRES A GREATER FORCE TO STOP IT. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MOMENTUM AND FORCE CAN BE SHOWN IN TWO SITUATIONS. (a) Same mass but different velocities An object with a higher velocity has a larger momentum than an object of the same mass with a lower velocity. (b) Same velocity but different masses An object with a larger mass has a larger momentum than an object of smaller mass with the same velocity. For both situations, a larger force is required to stop the object with the larger momentum.

## PRINCIPLE OF CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM

The principle of conservation of momentum states that the total linear momentum of a closed system of bodies is constant. This means that the total momentum before the collision is equal to the total momentum after the collision, if no external forces act on the system. In the absence of an external force, the total momentum of a system remains unchanged. If no external force acts on a system, the total momentum before collision (or explosion) is equal to the total momentum after collision (or explosion).

EXAMPLE 1

Before collision
u = 10 m s-1
m, 2 kg

After collision
v m s-1
m, 2 kg m, 3 kg

stationary
m, 3 kg

## Total momentum = m1v1 + m2v2 =2v+3v =5v

From the principle of conservation of momentum, Total momentum before the collision = total momentum after the collision 20 = 5 v v = 4 m s-1

EXAMPLE 2

Before collision
u1 = 10 m s-1
m, 2 kg

After collision
v1 = 8 m s-1
m, 2 kg

u2 = 3 m s-1
m, 3 kg

v2 = ?
m, 3 kg

## Total momentum = m1v1 + m2v2 = 2 (8) + 3 v2 = 16 + 3 v2

From the principle of conservation of momentum, Total momentum before = total momentum after the collision the collision 29 kg m s-1 = 16 + 3 v2 v2 = 13 / 3 m s-1

EXAMPLE 3

Before collision
u1 = 10 m s-1
m1 5 kg

After collision
v1 = 6 m s-1
m1 5 kg

u2 = -2 m s-1
m2 4 kg

v2 = ?
m2 4 kg

## From the principle of conservation of momentum, 42 kg m s-1 = 30 + 4 v2 v2 = 12 / 4 m s-1 = 3 m s-1

Types of collision

## There are three types of collision in the study of momentum,

(a) elastic collision (b) inelastic collision (c) explosion

The below diagram show a ball hitting the wall. This is known as an elastic collision.

ball

wall

The below diagram shows mud flung on a wall. The mud sticks to the wall. This is known as an non-elastic collision.

mud

wall

Elastic collision (a) Both bodies will (a) separate after collision.
u1 u2

## Inelastic collision Both bodies will move together after collision

u1 u2

Explosion (a) Two or more bodies in contact will be separated after the collision
u=0

m1

m2
i)

m1

m2
i)

m1

m2

v1

v

v1 v2

m1

m2

v2

m1

m2

m1

m2

## ii) Total final momentum = m1v1 + m2v2

Elastic collision
v1 v2

Inelastic collision
v v1

Explosion
v2

m1

m2

m1

m2

m1

m2

ii) Total final momentum = m1v1 + m2v2 iii) From the principle of conservation of momentum

ii) Total final momentum = (m1 + m2 )v iii) From the principle of conservation of momentum

ii) Total final momentum = m1v1 + m2v2 iii) From the principle of conservation of momentum

## (m1 + m2) = m1v1 + m2v2

Elastic collision (b) Total momentum and kinetic energy are conserved. (c) Total energy is conserved.

Inelastic collision (b) i. Total momentum is conserved. ii. Total kinetic energy is not conserved because some of the energy has changed into heat energy and sound. (c) Total energy is conserved.

Explosion (b) i. Total momentum is conserved. ii. Total kinetic energy is not conserved. (c) Total energy is conserved.