Collisions and Conservation of Momentum

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In this experiment, two object collided both elastically and in inelastically, the purpose of this experiment is to study the principle of conservation of momentum in collisions using two bodies. We also calculated the amount of kinetic energy in elastic and inelastic collisions before and after the collision. Introduction:

When bodies collide with each other, the total momentum p = mv, is always conserved regardless of the type of collision provided no external forces are present. There are two types of collisions. In an elastic collision, both the kinetic energy and the momentum are conserved. An inelastic collision is one in which only the momentum is conserved. Most collisions observed in nature are inelastic. A collision is completely inelastic when the bodies stick together after a collision. Materials and Methods:

For this experiment we used an air table that provided a frictionless motion of the pucks, Velcro tape for the inelastic collision, graph paper and a ruler. At first, we lunched the pucks without the Velcro tape to collide them elastically, and they drew on the graph paper their path before and after the collision. The same thing happened in the second part of the experiment, but this time with the Velcro tape.  Result:

The elastic collision:
Before2 X 10-2 m/s2.5 X 10-2 m/s
After1.44 X 10-2 m/s1.26 X 10-2 m/s

The inelastic collision:
Before1.7 X 10-2 m/s1.74 X 10-2 m/s
After1.26 X 10-2 m/s

The calculation of the kinetic energy:
For the elastic collusion:
The kinetic energy should be conserved before and after the collusion. Kbefore = ½ VA2 + ½ VA’2 = 0.2425 mJ
Kafter = ½ VB2 + ½ VB’2 = 0.1583 mJ
For the inelastic:
Kbefore = ½ VA2 + ½ VA’2 = 0.1849 mJ
Kafter = ½ VB2 + ½ VB’2 = 0.099225 mJ


In this experiment the main goal was to verify the conservation of linear momentum during the collisions in an isolated system, and to investigate the conservation of kinetic energy during...
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