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Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the law of conservation of linear momentum.
  • Derive an expression for the conservation of momentum.
  • Explain conservation of momentum with examples.
  • Explain the law of conservation of momentum as it relates to atomic and subatomic particles.

The information presented in this section supports the following AP® learning objectives and science practices:

  • 5.A.2.1 The student is able to define open and closed systems for everyday situations and apply conservation concepts for energy, charge, and linear momentum to those situations. (S.P. 6.4, 7.2)
  • 5.D.1.4 The student is able to design an experimental test of an application of the principle of the conservation of linear momentum, predict an outcome of the experiment using the principle, analyze data generated by that experiment whose uncertainties are expressed numerically, and evaluate the match between the prediction and the outcome. (S.P. 4.2, 5.1, 5.3, 6.4)
  • 5.D.2.1 The student is able to qualitatively predict, in terms of linear momentum and kinetic energy, how the outcome of a collision between two objects changes depending on whether the collision is elastic or inelastic. (S.P. 6.4, 7.2)
  • 5.D.2.2 The student is able to plan data collection strategies to test the law of conservation of momentum in a two-object collision that is elastic or inelastic and analyze the resulting data graphically. (S.P.4.1, 4.2, 5.1)
  • 5.D.3.1 The student is able to predict the velocity of the center of mass of a system when there is no interaction outside of the system but there is an interaction within the system (i.e., the student simply recognizes that interactions within a system do not affect the center of mass motion of the system and is able to determine that there is no external force). (S.P. 6.4)

Momentum is an important quantity because it is conserved. Yet it was not conserved in the examples in Impulse and Linear Momentum and Force , where large changes in momentum were produced by forces acting on the system of interest. Under what circumstances is momentum conserved?

The answer to this question entails considering a sufficiently large system. It is always possible to find a larger system in which total momentum is constant, even if momentum changes for components of the system. If a football player runs into the goalpost in the end zone, there will be a force on him that causes him to bounce backward. However, the Earth also recoils —conserving momentum—because of the force applied to it through the goalpost. Because Earth is many orders of magnitude more massive than the player, its recoil is immeasurably small and can be neglected in any practical sense, but it is real nevertheless.

Consider what happens if the masses of two colliding objects are more similar than the masses of a football player and Earth—for example, one car bumping into another, as shown in [link] . Both cars are coasting in the same direction when the lead car (labeled m 2 ) size 12{m rSub { size 8{2} } \) } {} is bumped by the trailing car (labeled m 1 ) . size 12{m rSub { size 8{1} } \) "." } {} The only unbalanced force on each car is the force of the collision. (Assume that the effects due to friction are negligible.) Car 1 slows down as a result of the collision, losing some momentum, while car 2 speeds up and gains some momentum. We shall now show that the total momentum of the two-car system remains constant.

Questions & Answers

how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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displacement in easy way.
Mubashir Reply
what is the Amount
Yasmin Reply
Of what? A bit of something
binding energy per nucleon
Poonam Reply
why God created humanity
Manuel Reply
Because HE needs someone to dominate the earth (Gen. 1:26)
Is the object in a conductor or an insulator? Justify your answer. whats the answer to this question? pls need help figure is given above
Jun Reply
how do i calculate the pressure on the base of a deposit if the deposit is moving with a linear aceleration
ximena Reply
why electromagnetic induction is not used in room heater ?
Gopi Reply
What is position?
Amoah Reply
What is law of gravition
sushil Reply
what is magnetism
Sandeep Reply
what is charging by induction
Sandeep Reply
what is electric field lines
Sandeep Reply
law of gravitation
Rakesh Reply
Suppose a 0.250-kg ball is thrown at 15.0 m/s to a motionless person standing on ice who catches it with an outstretched arm as shown in [link] . (b) What is his angular velocity if each arm is 5.00 kg? You may treat the ball as a point mass and treat the person's arms as uniform rods (each has a length of 0.900 m) and the rest of his body as a uniform cylinder of radius 0.180 m. Neglect the effect of the ball on his center of mass so that his center of mass remains in his geometrical center.
Varun Reply
Practice Key Terms 3

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