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Conservation of Linear MomentumPhysics 116 Section 426 John CornOctober 11, 2011Ekaterina KhvostovaPartners: Tim Angle, Max Harlacher, and Charles MankerThe work presented in this report is my own, and the data were obtained by my lab partner and myself during the lab period.
AbstractThe experiments conducted in this lab tested the principle of conservation of momentum implied by Newton’s second law which is the idea that, in a system that experiences no external forces, the total momentum of the system is conserved. The system designed in this lab consisted of two objects, pucks, sliding along a nearly frictionless horizontal surface, created by providing a cushion of air on the table beneath the pucks via hoses and an air compressor. The purpose of the setup was to attempt to create an isolated system where the forces of gravity and friction would not affect the motion of the objects.In the first experiment, an elastic collision was simulated where the pucks were pushed toward each other with sufficient initial velocities to result in a collision. The record of the collision was made using a spark timer set at 20 sparks per second, which made marks on a sheet of paper placed under the pucks. We used the record to measure initial and final velocities and angles of each puck. From this we found and compared initial and final momentum which came out as . Kinetic energies came out as . Both sets of values agree with each other within their uncertainties.The second experiment simulated an inelastic collision and was conducted very similarly except Velcro was attached to the pucks. After the collision, the pucks stuck together and moved together. Comparing initial and final velocities and angles we found the initial and final momentum to be . Kinetic energies came out to as . Values for momentum do not agree with each other within their uncertainties. Values for kinetic energy do. This result does not agree with the definition of an inelastic collision where momentum is conserved but kinetic energy is not. The high uncertainties throughout the lab results, especially for kinetic energies, can be attributed to the large uncertainty associated with each value and measurement found throughout the lab. The results of this lab are inconclusive.1 Data and Results1.1. Elastic CollisionTrialM1(g)σM1 (g)σM1/M11562.40.0840.00012562.60.0840.00013562.60.0840.00014562.50.0840.00015562.50.0840.0001average562.520.0840.0001Table 1TrialM2(g)σM2 (g)σM2/M21563.51.5080.0027
2560.41.5080.00273559.71.5080.00274561.41.5080.00275562.31.5080.0027average561.461.5080.0027Table 2Tables 1 and 2 show the measurements for mass 1 and mass 2. Masses were measured using an electronic balance. For each trial, the mass was measured on a different location near the center of the table because each connecting hose provided varying tension depending on the location of the puck relative to the hose support.