• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Evaluation in Testing the Conservation of Momentum in a Linear Collision

Extracts from this document...


Evaluation in Testing the Conservation of Momentum in a Linear Collision The law of conservation of linear momentum states that in an isolated system, one in which external forces are absent, the total momentum before a collision is equal the total momentum after a collision. In physics, problems consist usually of two objects colliding in an isolated system. Since momentum is conserved, the sum of the momenta before the collision must be equivalent to the sum of momenta after the collision. Momentum is a conserved quantity, the inertia of motion, and mathematically the product of mass and velocity. Though velocity and acceleration are not conserved in collisions, however the product of mass and velocity is. Demonstrated by an experiment conducted using an air track apparatus equipped with a ticker timer, a moving cart and a stationary cart colliding, the spacing between the data points help determine the velocities before and after the collision. ...read more.


Half way through the air track is a stationary cart with no weights. Once the carts collide, they stick together and move at a slower constant velocity. At this collision, velocity decreases as mass increases, meeting at equilibrium in momentum before and after a collision. This air track has a near frictionless surface enabling the cart to move at constant velocity. There are many possible explanations for the results of this experiment along with its limitations and faults. Firstly, the experiment carried some human errors such as when the cart is propelled by a finger; the force applied was not completely horizontal. In turn, the cart lifted off the track slightly and fell back down. This altered the results, as kinetic energy was lost due to the impact energy in a form of friction with the air track. ...read more.


To improve accuracy in results such as this case, the lab must comply with the law of conservation of linear momentum's restriction. This experiment was to determine the extent to which momentum is conserved in a simple linear collision. Mathematically the total momentum before and after a collision should be equal if the experiment is in an isolated system. Here this experiment, the air track was open to many environmental factors that altered the results. In future experiments, to verify or justify the hypothesis, the lab must comply with the law's conditions. Another improvement is to apply only a horizontal force so the cart will not experience much friction with the air track. Also, conducting more experiment should eliminate the majority of the random errors in accumulating an average from the results. In all, this experiment did exemplify that even in an open system, most of the momentum is conserved in this simple linear collision. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Physics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Physics essays

  1. Oblique Collisions in Two Dimensions

    The acceleration at which the spheres accelerated towards the floor remained the same. Data Collection: Mass of Incident Ball (heavier one that comes down): 6.8 grams Mass of Target Ball (lighter one that gets hit): 4.4 grams Distance from the ground to the ball platform: 82.4 centimeters Distance the Initial

  2. Aim: ...

    In this experiment the main source of error will not come from the idea that the experiment is not perfectly elastic but due to errors in calculations and measurement Variables: In this experiment, the independent variable would definitely be the angle of the target ball to the incident ball.

  1. Investigating the Breaking Distance of a Cart

    The dependent variable was chosen to be the distance traveled by the cart, meaning it's braking distance. Whilst the independent variable was the initial velocity obtained by the cart. There were two controlled variables within this experiment, which are as follows: frictional force of the track surface and mass of the metal crate itself.

  2. Conservation of Momentum Experiment.

    Average Final Length Between Dots �0.01cm 0.88 0.90 Frequency of Spark Timer 50Hz 50Hz Avg Initial Velocity (x Direction) 70.00�cm/s N/A (Stationary) Avg Final Velocity 44.00�0.39cm/s 45.00�0.49cm/s The Experiment Can Be Summarized By The Following Diagram: Both the x and y directions needs to be considered in order to solve

  1. HL Physics Revision Notes

    EM waves, resulting in the transformation of parent nuclide into daughter nuclide. Measured in Becquerel?s (Bq) transformations per second. Alpha decay: atomic nucleus emits alpha particle, equivalent to a Helium nucleus. Atomic masses and numbers balance on both sides of the equation Beta decay: atomic nucleus emits beta particle (electron or positron).

  2. How does the sinkage depth of a tyre affect its rolling resistance ?

    be stated that the primary cause that has affected the rolling resistance by the tire due its sinkage depth is the compressibility of the sand and the elasticity of the tire . The compressibility of the sand or compaction resistance is usually produced in this case by the work done

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work