Physics Lab 5 - Linear Momentum.docx - Linear Momentum...

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Linear Momentum Physics Lab # 5
INTRODUCTION From the impulse-momentum theorem, it is known that the impulse produced by a net force is equal to the change in the object’s momentum. This leads directly to the principle of conservation of linear momentum which states that if the sum of the average external forces on a system is zero, then the total linear momentum of the system is conserved. Because of this, the final total momentum of the system after collision is the same as the initial total momentum of the system before the collision or P f = P 0 . Although it may not seem like it, this type of conservation affects us on a daily basis. A real world example can be seen when firing a rifle with the momentum being conserved in the recoil of the gun or even when two players collide while playing football. This is why this experiment focuses on confirming this phenomenon to better understand what happens when we encounter this. It is expected that when the experiment is done, the initial momentum of the ball before colliding with a block will be the same as the final momentum of the ball after the collision. PROCEDURE To experimentally confirm the conservation of linear momentum, a steel ball is placed midway on the ramp of the momentum apparatus (see Fig. 1), and allowed to roll down the track into the box or “channel” of the apparatus. Before the ball is rolled down however, a strip of red waxed paper is placed inside the channel and the wooden block hanging at the end of the track is placed onto the platform, safely away from the ball’s trajectory. Once the ball is released and falls, it leaves an imprint on the wax paper. The ball’s velocity is calculated by first measuring the height through which the ball falls. This height is measured from the bottom of the channel to the top of the end of the ramp from which the ball falls. The ball is then rolled 10 more times
from the same position. The distance the balls travels before hitting the ground is measured from

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