Conservation of Momentum

Topics: Force, Momentum, Weight Pages: 2 (273 words) Published: December 3, 2012
Lab: Momentum Conservation


This experiment aims to test the law of conservation of momentum by using cart and track system.


1. Put two carts onto the track.
2. Hit the button on the cart so that they start to move at opposite directions. 3. Find the position where the carts hit the end at the same time. 4. Find the distance that each cart traveled.

5. Repeat step 1-4 with 500g and 1000g weights on one of the carts. Data and Calculation
The carts were measured to be 12cm each and weighting 500g each. And the total length of the track is 100cm. x1+x2 has a value of 76cm.

Theoretical Value of x1 and x2

0 grams of weight
500 grams of weight
1000 grams of weight

Experimental value of x1 and x2
0 grams of weight
x1= 36 x2=40
500 grams of weight
x1= 24 x2=52
1000 grams of weight
x1= 20 x2=56

0 grams of weight = 5.26%
500 grams of weight = 3.51%
1000 grams of weight = 2.63%

The equation m1x1=m2x2 or the conservation of momentum is proven true by this experiment. Even though there are % errors in these trials, these % error are insignificant. There are many sources of error in this experiment. Whether the carts hit the end of the track at the same time is hard to measure as it is measured by human reaction instead of the device itself. Furthermore, there are net external forces working on this system. The track itself was also not perfectly leveled.
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