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Collision and Conservation of Momentum

1. Background

An inelastic collision is one where the total kinetic energy of the colliding particles is not the same after the collision as it was before. An example is a toy car smashing towards a wall. Before the collision, the car moves fast and has lots of kinetic energy - and afterward, it has zero kinetic energy. An elastic collision is when the sum of the kinetic energy of all the colliding particles is the same after the collision as it is before. An example of elastic collision is a basketball bouncing off a backboard. The ball comes back with the same level of kinetic energy as it had when it went forward, which means it was an elastic collision. In this experiment, a group of students will use 2 collision carts with a data-logging system to study the characteristics of collision and the conservation of momentum during the collision. The group will then present their findings to the class.

2. Objective

 To study an elastic collision. To study the conservation of momentum during the collision.

3. Equipment List

 Datalogger interface connected to a PC 2 motion sensors / 2 pairs of photogates 2 collision carts with magic tape Air track

 Experiment Collision and Conservation of Momentum Simple Harmonic Motion Acceleration due to Gravity Pushing and Pulling a Dynamics Cart Acceleration of a Dynamics Cart

 2003 | Important Notices