Topic IV: Conservation of Linear Momentum

Definition: Linear momentum is the mass of an object times its velocity

Newton’s Second Law of Motion

Law of Conservation of Linear Momentum

The total linear momentum of the objects in the system before the collision is the same as the total linear momentum after the collision.

total p before = total p after

Collisions

  1. Elastic: objects bounce off like billiard balls
  2. Inelastic: objects stick to each other

 

Conservation Laws in Collision

 

Elastic

Inelastic

Momentum

Conserved

Conserved

Energy

Conserved

Not conserved

Elastic

Inelastic

 

Supplementary reading: http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/momentum/index.cfm