Collisions in One Dimension
Purpose:
The main purpose of this lab was to investigate the conservation and momentum in one
dimensional, twobody collisions.
THEORY
The momentum of a particle is defined as p=mv.
According to Netwon’s 2
nd
law, the
force F is equal to the time rate of change of p (momentum) where F is the net force
acting on the particle. The following equation is summed over all the particles:
QuickTimeª and a
decompressor
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Where n is the number of particles, F is the net force on the system and P is the total
momentum of the system.
We can neglect the internal forces of the system as Newton’s
3
rd
law guarantees that they will cancel out. This enables us to realize that if any
component of F = 0 then our total momentum P will be constant. It is important to note
that though momentum can be conserved, this does not always necessarily yield that
energy will be conserved as well.
In this lab, we studied two body collisions: elastic and inelastic.
In elastic collisions, the
kinetic energy of the system is conserved whereas in inelastic collisions, KE is lost and
therefore energy is not conserved.
2.3 TWO PARTICLES ONE DIMENSIONAL COLLISIONS
In the elastic collision experiments we performed, we used two gliders.
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 Fall '05
 LENIHAN
 Physics, Energy, Force, Kinetic Energy, Momentum, Elastic collision

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