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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

. we shall study the collision between two ball bearings on a curved track.1 In the experiment. 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.a) head-on-collision Figure 3.

Ball bearing 1 Curved track Horizontal end Table h R Figure 3. If t is the time of flight.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.2a Ball bearing 1 Ball bearing 2 Table Carbon paper Figure 3. we may write: .

4 Evidently.4. the velocity of the ball bearing is directly proportional to its horizontal displacement. Since the balls fall from the same height. if equation 3. the principle of conservation of linear momentum is thus verified. u = R√g/2h 3. R.6 m1x0 = m1x1 + m2x2 3.2 and 3.-h = 0 + ½ (-g) t2 t = √ 2h/g The horizontal displacement of the ball bearing.6 are practically satisfied. .3 respectivelyninto equation 3. by substituting equations 3. R = uxt Where ux = u = velocity of the ball bearing as it reach the horizontal track end R = u√2h/g Thus.5 and 3. we may write: x-axis and y-axis 0 = m1y1 – m2y2 3.5 Evidently.

A pendulum bob 6. A piece of drawing paper (A3) 8. A piece of carbon paper (A4) 9.0 cm) 4. 2 ball bearings (diameter of 1. 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. A meter rule 7. A curved track 3.3 . A piece of string 5.Apparatus: 1. A level table 2.

The ball bearing 1 was released from a certain height on the curved track shown as point A in figure.m1 and m2 was weigh. The ball bearing 1 was released from point A and the distance from the pendulum to the landing point of ball bearing 1.27 ± 0.3) 10.2a. This step was repeated to obtain at least 5 readings and the average value of x0 were calculated. 3. 7. Step 8 was repeated for at least another four times. The position of landing points for each ball bearing i.e. The apparatus was set up as in Figure 3. The mass of the two ball bearing. In order to place the carbon paper on top of a drawing paper.0 ± 0.(Refer to Figure 3.71 ± 0. 8. 4.x2. 6.y1 and y2 were measured.2b).01) g Reading Distance from the pendulum to the . 2.1) cm Mass of ball bearing 1 : (28. Tabulate the data. x0 was measured. x1.01) g Mass of ball bearing 2 : (16. 5. This position was marked on the track. The ball bearing 1 was released from point A. the landing point of ball bearing 1 on the floor was observed. These two ball bearings will subsequently collide and fall freely in a projectile motion. Observation: Height of point A : (46.Procedure: 1. The ball bearing 1 was released from point A (Refer to Figure 3. 9. 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. 11.

984) Thus.4 3.194) – (61.5 and 3.6 to calculate the results.27)(2.7 30.71)(3.1) cm Y2(±0.8 2.2) = (28.0 78.984 ≠ 2237.3 2.8) + (16.984) (2238.1 83.1) cm 78.7 31.8 1. .2 Reading 1 2 3 4 5 Average Ball bearing 1 X1(±0. 0 = m1y1 − m2y2 0 = (28.0 79.2 30.6 30.1) cm Y1(±0. we used equation 3.27)(79. 2238.6 1.8 79.x0 (± 0.7 81. For x-axis.6 2.71)(81.7 3.0 3.5 80.7 Calculation: In order to prove that the experiment verify the principle of conservation of linear momentum.1 2 3 4 5 Average Table 1 landing point.5 4.1) cm 78.716) + (1366.5 79.1) cm 29.4 84. m1x0 = m1x1 + m2x2 = (870.878) = (2237.4 3.367 Thus.8) (2238.7 81.2) – (16.8 31.7) 0 = (62.8 3.594 And for the y-axis.7 2.827) 0 = 0.6 81.2 Table 2 Ball bearing 2 X2(±0.27)(30.594) (28.

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

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