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EXPERIMENT PRINCIPLE OF CONSERVATION OF LINEAR MOMENTUM Objective: To verify the principle of conservation of linear momentum. Theory: Linear momentum, p is a vector quantity defined as the product of mass and velocity. For a body mass, m and velocity, v; its momentum is given as p = mv. In the absence of external force, that is, in an isolated system, the total momentum of the system is constant. In other words, the total momentum is conserved. This is known as the Principle of Conservation of Linear Momentum. Applying the Principle of Conservation of Linear Momentum in collision, the total momentum of the colliding bodies remains the same before and after the collision. Let m1 and m2 be the masses of two colliding bodies (i.e body 1 and body 2) as shown in Figure 3.1 and u1, u2, v1 and v2 are the velocities before and after the collision of the body 1 and body 2 respectively. We may write this as: m1u1 + m2u2 = m1v1 + m2v2 since momentum is a vector quantity, the principle of conservation of linear momentum is equally true in both x-axis and y-axis direction. In the case of an oblique impact, we resolve the momentum into x-axis and y-axis and we may write the equation as: x-axis and y-axis 0 = m1v1 sinα – m2v2 sinβ m1u1 = m1v1 cosα + m2v2 cosβ

a) head-on-collision Figure 3. The first ball bearings is released from the top of the track so that it gains momentum m1u1 before it hits the second ball bearing which is stationary at the horizontal end of the track. .1 In the experiment. we shall study the collision between two ball bearings on a curved track.

we may write: .2a Ball bearing 1 Ball bearing 2 Table Carbon paper Figure 3. If t is the time of flight.Ball bearing 1 Curved track Horizontal end Table h R Figure 3.2b Let h be the height of the ball bearing 1 from the falling point to the ground when it starts to fall freely and R is its horizontal displacement. then from the kinematics equation.

4 Evidently. the principle of conservation of linear momentum is thus verified. the velocity of the ball bearing is directly proportional to its horizontal displacement. if equation 3. u = R√g/2h 3.2 and 3. R = uxt Where ux = u = velocity of the ball bearing as it reach the horizontal track end R = u√2h/g Thus.3 respectivelyninto equation 3. Since the balls fall from the same height. by substituting equations 3.5 and 3.6 m1x0 = m1x1 + m2x2 3.5 Evidently.-h = 0 + ½ (-g) t2 t = √ 2h/g The horizontal displacement of the ball bearing.4. R.6 are practically satisfied. . we may write: x-axis and y-axis 0 = m1y1 – m2y2 3.

2 ball bearings (diameter of 1. A piece of drawing paper (A3) 8. A piece of string 5. A retort stand Carbon Paper Curved Track Pendulum Landing point of ball bearing 1 m1 R1 α β R2 x1 Table x2 x0 y1 y2 Table 3.Apparatus: 1. A meter rule 7.3 . A piece of carbon paper (A4) 9.0 cm) 4. A curved track 3. A pendulum bob 6. A level table 2.

The ball bearing 1 was released from a certain height on the curved track shown as point A in figure. The mass of the two ball bearing. In order to place the carbon paper on top of a drawing paper. 4. 9.x2. x0 was measured.01) g Mass of ball bearing 2 : (16.3) 10.01) g Reading Distance from the pendulum to the .y1 and y2 were measured. 7. 11.1) cm Mass of ball bearing 1 : (28.0 ± 0. The ball bearing 1 was released from point A.m1 and m2 was weigh. The ball bearing 1 was released from point A (Refer to Figure 3. x1. The ball bearing 1 was released from point A and the distance from the pendulum to the landing point of ball bearing 1. Tabulate the data. 2.2a. 3.Procedure: 1.e.27 ± 0.71 ± 0. These two ball bearings will subsequently collide and fall freely in a projectile motion. Observation: Height of point A : (46. 5. The position of landing points for each ball bearing i. This step was repeated to obtain at least 5 readings and the average value of x0 were calculated. the landing point of ball bearing 1 on the floor was observed. The ball bearing 2 was placed on the end of the horizontal track slightly off the path of ball bearing 1 so that an oblique collision occurs.2b). Step 8 was repeated for at least another four times. The apparatus was set up as in Figure 3. 6.(Refer to Figure 3. 8. This position was marked on the track.

3 2.6 81.x0 (± 0.8 79.1) cm 29.1) cm 78.2 Reading 1 2 3 4 5 Average Ball bearing 1 X1(±0.8) + (16.0 3.984 ≠ 2237.4 3.6 1.7 Calculation: In order to prove that the experiment verify the principle of conservation of linear momentum.8 31.4 84.2 30.5 80. For x-axis.984) Thus.0 79.5 and 3. 2238.8) (2238.27)(2.7 30.367 Thus. 0 = m1y1 − m2y2 0 = (28. m1x0 = m1x1 + m2x2 = (870.1) cm Y2(±0.7) 0 = (62.8 3.984) (2238. .7 2.6 to calculate the results.8 1.71)(81.1 83.827) 0 = 0.8 2.2) = (28.878) = (2237.6 30.594 And for the y-axis.716) + (1366.2 Table 2 Ball bearing 2 X2(±0.7 81.1 2 3 4 5 Average Table 1 landing point.6 2.7 31.0 78.7 81.1) cm 78.27)(79.594) (28.194) – (61.1) cm Y1(±0.2) – (16.71)(3.4 3.5 4.5 79.27)(30.7 3. we used equation 3.

In the vacuum medium. The error also happens when taking the measurement using the metre rule. the collision of the ball bearing will never same as stated in the theory due to some limitation. The point is only 0. So. To get the correct result the experiment should be carry out in the vacuum medium. The result was tempered and not accurate.367 So. both equation does not verify the principle of conservation of linear momentum. Discussion : The result cannot be obtained due to some error such as air resistance. Conclusion . Lastly try to reduce the errors by using the zero parallax error instrument. This is because the experiment was handled in the room.0 ≠ 0. The metre rule is not so accurate and not very sensitive. there was no air resistance and another force that react on the experiment. the calculation will never be accurate Besides that.1.

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