Studying the Laws of Conservation of Momentum and Energy using a Ballistic Pendulum
Theory
:
Conservation of Momentum:
Momentum is the product of an objects mass and direction.
Momentum is also a vector therefore
the direction of the object is important to the determination of the total momentum of a system of
objects.
The Law of Conservation of Momentum infers that the total momentum of a system of
objects remains the same.
Therefore if two objects collide the total momentum before the collision
is equal to the total momentum after the collision.
The velocities of the objects involved in the
collision can change in both magnitude and direction.
There are two types of collisions elastic,
where the objects are only in contact with each other for a brief period of time, and inelastic where
they remain fixed together and move as one object with one velocity.
The equations for the
conservation of momentum are given below. Where i and f are initial and final velocities.
m
1
v
1i
+ m
2
v
2i
= m
1
v
1f
+ m
2
v
2f
elastic
[1]
m
1
v
1i
+ m
2
v
2i
= (m
1
+ m
2
)v
f
inelastic
[2]
Conservation of Energy
Conservation of energy is a principle that energy is neither created nor destroyed that it only
changes form.
If an object loses energy in one form it gains some or radiates some in another form
of energy.
One such exchange is in potential energy and kinetic energy.
An example is: A ball
thrown straight up into the air has first a kinetic energy as it leaves the hand.
As it rises into the air
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 Spring '08
 Staff
 Physics, Conservation Of Energy, Energy, Kinetic Energy, Mass, Momentum, Potential Energy, Special Relativity, Laws of Conservation of Momentum and Energy

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