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Class PH1110A2007
Assignment 12
Due at 5:00pm on Wednesday, September 26, 2007
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Conservation of Momentum in Inelastic Collisions
Learning Goal:
To understand the vector nature of momentum in the case in which two objects collide and stick
together.
In this problem we will consider a collision of two moving objects such that after the collision, the objects stick
together and travel off as a single unit. The collision is therefore completely inelastic.
You have probably learned that "momentum is conserved" in an inelastic collision. But how does this fact help you to
solve collision problems? The following questions should help you to clarify the meaning and implications of the
statement "momentum is conserved."
Part A
What physical quantities are conserved in this collision?
ANSWER:
the magnitude of the momentum only
the net momentum (considered as a vector) only
the momentum of each object considered individually
Part B
Two cars of equal mass collide inelastically and stick together after the collision. Before the collision, their speeds are
and
. What is the speed of the twocar system after the collision?
Hint B.1 How to approach the problem
Hint not displayed
ANSWER:
The answer depends on the directions in which the cars were moving before the collision.
Part C
Two cars collide inelastically and stick together after the collision. Before the collision, the magnitudes of their
momenta are
and
. After the collision, what is the magnitude of their combined momentum?
Hint C.1 How to approach the problem
Hint not displayed
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ANSWER:
The answer depends on the directions in which the cars were moving before the collision.
Part D
Two cars collide inelastically and stick together after the collision. Before the collision, their momenta are
and
.
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 Fall '08
 Kiel
 Kinetic Energy, Momentum, Collision

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