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The rocket

# The rocket - The rocket The motion of a rocket is a nice...

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The rocket The motion of a rocket is a nice example of a system with a variable mass in which nevertheless conservation of linear momentum can be applied. Suppose a rocket is flying through deep space (no friction force and no gravitational force). It is burning fuel. Suppose at some time t the mass of the rocket is M. During a time interval [Delta]t, the mass of the rocket changes by [Delta]M: M(t + [Delta]t) = M(t) + [Delta]M Since the rocket is burning fuel, [Delta]M is negative. The mass of the exhaust products is - [Delta]M. The result of the burning of fuel is a change in the velocity of the rocket: v(t + [Delta]t) = v(t) + [Delta]v If we consider our system to consist of the rocket and the exhaust generated during the time interval [Delta]t, we are dealing with a closed system. Since there are no external forces acting on the system, the total linear momentum of the system is conserved. The initial linear momentum of the system (at time t) is given by p i = M(t) v(t) The final linear momentum of the system is given by

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The rocket - The rocket The motion of a rocket is a nice...

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