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Conservation of Momentum Experiment.

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Data Collection and Processing:

  • [Data Table #1]Final Lab Data(Raw):

Cue Puck

Stationary Puck

Mass of Puck ±1g



Angle of Movement ±0.1°

39.0 [S of E]

40.0 [N of E]

Average Initial Length Between  Dots ±0.01cm


N/A (Stationary)

Average Final  Length Between  Dots ±0.01cm



Frequency of Spark Timer



  • Since the spark timer used in the lab was set at 50Hz per second, 50 dots are made for every second-which also means that one dot is 1/50th of a second, the velocity of the two pucks can be determined from this relationship with the use of image00.pngimage00.png, (to reduce rounding errors, all momentum calculations will be done in the base unit give: image06.pngimage06.png) :

Average Initial Velocity of Cue Puck in the image20.pngimage20.png Direction: image34.pngimage34.png

Average Final Velocity of Cue Puck: image45.pngimage45.png

Average Final Velocity of Stationary Puck: image01.pngimage01.png

Propagation of Uncertainties for Velocity of Pucks:

Uncertainty of Ruler: ±0.01cm:

Average Initial Velocity:

Cue Puck: image02.pngimage02.png=1.136…%

Stationary Puck: N/A No Movement

Average Final Velocity:

Cue Puck: image03.pngimage03.png

Stationary Puck:image04.pngimage04.png=0.90%

Uncertainty of Mass of Puck: 1.0g:

Cue Puck: image05.pngimage05.png

Stationary Puck: image07.pngimage07.png

Final Percent Uncertainty for Average Initial Velocity of Cue Puck: 1.136…%+0.180…%=1.317%

Final Percent Uncertainty for Average Initial Velocity of Stationary Puck: N/A No Movement

Final Percent Uncertainty for Average Final Velocity of Cue Puck: 0.714…%+0.180…%=0.895%

Final Percent Uncertainty for Average Final Velocity of Stationary Puck: 0.90%+0.18145=1.081%

We can now convert the percent uncertainties into absolute uncertainties:

Final Abs. Uncertainty for Average Initial Velocity of Cue Puck:

image08.pngimage08.png= 0.

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Average Initial Length Between  Dots ±0.01cm


N/A (Stationary)

Average Final  Length Between  Dots ±0.01cm



Frequency of Spark Timer



Avg Initial Velocity (x Direction)


N/A (Stationary)

Avg Final Velocity



The Experiment Can Be Summarized By The Following Diagram:image12.png

Both the x and y directions needs to be considered in order to solve this question:

Subscript c will represent the cue puck and Subscript s will represent the stationary puck.

If friction in the system can be ignored:


X: Pcx+Psx= Pcx1+Psx1

Y: Pcy+Psy= Pcy1+Psy1



Pcx = mcvc


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Experiment Improvements:

        The human errors can be reduced to a minimum if we use a type of a launcher that applies to equivalent strength to the puck which will allow the air puck to travel throughout the surface of the paper with uniform speed, the launch would also eliminate the excess y component and give us a more accurate result.  The surface of the paper can be improved with the use of paper with smoother surfaces; this would produce a better data paper for us to do measurements with. To eliminate the friction at the point of contact, we could use ring magnets with opposite poles around the pucks, this would eliminate the contact of the two pucks and ultimately take friction away. I think we could have done a combination of things better, if I were to design the lab again, I would create a apparatus with a camera mounted on top, which is programmed to take pictures for every time interval along with the improvements I have listed above, the pucks would be placed along the lines of a scale (Meter stick, measuring tape…etc.)  There will also be a spark timer for the physical data. This way we will have a physical and digital data, we can always look back at the digital data (digital data should be more accurate) and compare it with the physical data, this will make the experiment nearly perfect.

...read more.

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