Conservation of Linear Momentum From our last equation we will consider now the special case in which F ext = 0 . That is, no external forces act upon an isolated system of particles. Such a situation implies that the rate of change of the total momentum of a system does not change, meaning this quantity is constant, and proving the principle of the conservation of linear momentum: When there is no net external force acting on a system of particles the total momentum of the system is conserved. It's that simple. No matter the nature of the interactions that go on within a given system, its total momentum will remain the same. To see exactly how this concept works we shall consider an example. Conservation of Linear Momentum in Action Let's consider a cannon firing a cannonball. Initially, both the cannon and the ball are at rest. Because the cannon, the ball, and the explosive are all within the same system of particles, we can thus state that the total momentum of the system is zero. What happens when the cannon is
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2012 for the course PHY PHY2053 taught by Professor Davidjudd during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.