Conservation of Momentum

Essay by step086High School, 10th gradeA+, April 2009

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IntorductionResearch Question: Will momentum always be conserved in all situations?Background Information: To understand this lab it is necessary to eleaborate on the facts of momentum and impulse. First the definitions. Impulse is calculated as the average net force and the time interval over which the force acts on the object. The equation then for impulse is. Linear momentum is defined as the product of its mass and velocity (Daniel Ladbrook). It's mathematical equation is the P(momentum) = m(mass) * v(velocity). There is also the impulse momentum theorem which must be considered. It basically says that impulse ( which is the product of net force and the time interval over which the force acts on the object) is equal to change in momentum, (change in momentum, consequently, is the product of mass and change in velocity of the object.) Nowing this will make solving the lab easier for the most part.

A term that will be used with added frequency is collision, which is defined as, "When two objects exist in the same space at the same time," (Daniel Ladbrook, Impulse and Momentum). There are two types of collision to consider, elastic and inelastic. Elastic collision is defined as, "Collision in which colliding objects rebound without lasting deformation or heat generation," (Hewitt 105). These types of collision, elastic collisions, are near impossible. The chances are highly improbable, some say even completely impossible. The other type of collision, inelastic, is defined as, "A collision in which the colliding objects become distortedm generate heat, and possibly stick together,) (Hewitt 105). Inelastic collisions occur everyday and is the type of collision dealt with in this lab.

Moving on this lab deals with the idea of the conservation of momentum in any situation. When two objects enter into contact they briefly exert a force on...