Collisions Lab

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Collisions in Two Dimensions

Abstract: This lab was conducted to investigate the theories of conservation of momentum and kinetic energy in different types of 2D collisions. In order to do this, both an elastic and inelastic collision was conducted on an air table with pucks. A video was taken and analyzed to determine velocity, allowing for future finding of momentum and kinetic energy values. By finding these, it was possible to determine which kind of collision took place. With low values of change in momentum and kinetic energy that occurred in elastic collisions, it is understood that both are conserved in this type of collision. However, in the inelastic collision, momentum is conserved while kinetic energy is not. Possible error in this lab may have resulted from the neglect of friction and rotational kinetic energy. Overall, however, the results matched up well with the expected values. The objective of the lab was therefore met.

The objective of this lab is to support that momentum will be conserved in all forms of collisions, and that kinetic energy will be conserved only in elastic collisions. Materials:
Materials used in this lab were a video camera, an air table with pucks and Velcro bands, and Logger Pro software. Procedure:
Videos of collisions of air hockey pucks will be recorded onto the computer’s hard drive. Two different types of collisions will be analyzed. The first will be nearly-elastic, with each puck going separate directions after the collision. The other type is completely inelastic with each buck bearing Velcro so as to stick together upon collision. The first collision requires first setting an origin on the video. Using the Set Scale tool, a distance scale will be set. Trajectory of the center puck is marked and an arbitrary time is picked at which data will begin being extracted. Points will then be added one frame at a time until enough measurements are taken before and after the collision. This is then...
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