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COLLISION SAMPLE PROBLEM

A collision or crash is an event in which two or more bodies


exert forces on each other for a relatively short time. Although the 1. A 57-kg fisherman stands on a stationary 211-kg floating boat. The
most common colloquial use of the word "collision" refers to incidents fisherman then jumps off the raft horizontally with a velocity of 4.6
in which two or more objects collide, the scientific use of the word m/s. What is the recoil velocity of the boat if there were no friction and
"collision" implies nothing about the magnitude of the force. resistance due to water?
Some examples of physical interactions that scientists would
consider collisions: Given: m1 = 57 kg
An insect touches its antenna to the leaf of a plant. The antenna m2 = 211 kg
v1 = 4.6 m/s
is said to collide with leaf.
A cat walks delicately through the grass. Each contact that its
Required: v2 (velocity of the boat)
paws make with the ground is a collision. Each brush of its fur
against a blade of grass is a collision. Solution:
When a boxer throws a punch, his fist is said to collide with the The total momentum of the fisherman and the boat before
opponent's face. collision is zero because they are both from rest therefore, their total
momentum after collision is also zero in accordance with the law of
mAvAi + mBvBi = mAvAf + mBvBf conservation of linear momentum.
The equation above is known as the law of conservation of
momentum, which states that the total momentum of an object or an m1v1 + m2v2 = 0
isolated system remains constant.
( m1 v 1)
An isolated system is a system that is not affected by a net external v2 = m2
force that will affect or change the momentum of the system. A net
external force is a force that comes from other sources or a force that is
not balanced by other forces. ( 57 kg ) (4.6 m/ s)
v2 = 211 kg
Example: If a red ball with a mass of 10 kg is traveling east at a speed
of 5 m/s and collides with a blue ball with a mass of 20 kg traveling Answer: v2 = - 1.2 m/s
west at a speed of 10 m/s, what is the result? First we figure out the
momentum of each ball before the collision: The negative sign means that the boat moves opposite the
Red ball = 10 kg * 5 m/s = 50 kg m/s east direction of the fisherman.
Blue ball = 20 kg * 10 m/s = 200 kg m/s west

The resulting momentum will be:


Both balls = 150 kg m/s west

Note: An object standing still has a momentum of 0 kg m/s.


http://www.ducksters.com/science/physics/momentum.php
Ball 1 0.164=.64 0
Ball 2 0 0.16v2
Types of Collisions Total 0.64 0.16v2

When objects collide, a number of different things can happen depending on


the characteristics of the colliding objects. Of course, you know that
momentum is always conserved in a closed system. Imagine, though, the
differences in a collision if the two objects colliding are super-bouncy balls
compared to two lumps of clay. In the first case, the balls would bounce off To determine whether this is an elastic or inelastic collision, you can
each other. In the second, they would stick together and become, in essence, calculate the total kinetic energy of the system both before and after the
one object. Obviously, you need more ways to characterize collisions. collision.
Objects KE Before (J) KE After (J)
Elastic collisions occur when the colliding objects bounce off of each other.
This typically occurs when you have colliding objects which are very hard or Ball 1 0.500.1642=1.28 0
bouncy. Officially, an elastic collision is one in which the sum of the kinetic Ball 2 0 0.500.1642=1.28
energy of all the colliding objects before the event is equal to the sum of the Total 1.28 1.28
kinetic energy of all the objects after the event. Put more simply, kinetic
energy is conserved in an elastic collisions.
Since the kinetic energy before the collision is equal to the kinetic energy
NOTE: There is no law of conservation of kinetic energy -- IF kinetic energy after the collision (kinetic energy is conserved), this is an elastic collision.
is conserved in a collision, it is called an elastic collision, but there is no
physical law that requires this. Collisions in Two Dimensions
Much like the key to projectile motion, or two-dimensional kinematics problems,
Inelastic collisions occur when two objects collide and kinetic energy is not was breaking up vectors into their x- and y-components, the key to solving two-
dimensional collision problems involves breaking up momentum vectors into x- and
conserved. In this type of collision some of the initial kinetic energy is
y- components. The law of conservation of momentum then states that momentum is
converted into other types of energy (heat, sound, etc.), which is why kinetic independently conserved in both the x- and y- directions.
energy is NOT conserved in an inelastic collision. In a perfectly inelastic
collision, the two objects colliding stick together.
In reality, most collisions fall somewhere between the extremes of a
completely elastic collision and a completely inelastic collision.
Therefore, you can solve two-dimensional collision problems by creating a separate
momentum table for the x-component of momentum before and after the collision,
Question: Two billiard balls collide. Ball 1 moves with a velocity of 4 m/s,
and a momentum table for the y-component of momentum.
and ball 2 is at rest. After the collision, ball 1 comes to a complete stop. What
is the velocity of ball 2 after the collision? Is this collision elastic or Question: Bert strikes a cue ball of mass 0.17 kg, giving it a velocity of 3 m/s in the
inelastic? The mass of each ball is 0.16 kg. x-direction. When the cue ball strikes the eight ball (mass=0.16 kg), previously at
rest, the eight ball is deflected 45 degrees from the cue balls previous path, and the
Answer: To find the velocity of ball 2, use a momentum table. cue ball is deflected 30 degrees in the opposite direction. Find the velocity of the cue
ball and the eight ball after the collision.
Momentum Before Momentum After
Objects
(kgm/s) (kgm/s)
Y Momentum
Objects Y Momentum After (kgm/s)
Before (kgm/s)
Cue Ball 0 0.17vcsin(-40)
Eight
0 0.16v8sin(45)
Ball
0.17vcsin(-40)+
Total 0
0.16v8sin(45)

You now have two equations with two unknowns. To solve this system of equations,
Answer: Start by making momentum tables for the collision, beginning with the x- start by solving the y-momentum equation for vc.
direction. Since you dont know the velocity of the balls after the collision, call the
velocity of the cue ball after the collision vc, and the velocity of the eight ball after
the collision v8. Note that you must use trigonometry to determine the x-component
of the momentum of each ball after the collision.

X Momentum You can now take this equation for vc and substitute it into the equation for
Objects X Momentum After (kgm/s) conservation of momentum in the x-direction, effectively eliminating one of the
Before (kgm/s) unknowns, and giving a single equation with a single unknown.
Cue Ball 0.173=0.51 0.17vccos(40)
Eight
0 0.16v8cos(45)
Ball
0.17vccos(40)+
Total 0.51
0.16v8cos(45)
Since the total momentum in the x-direction before the collision must equal the total
Finally, solve for the velocity of the cue ball after the collision by substituting the
momentum in the x-direction after the collision, you can set the total before and total
known value for v8 into the result of the y-momentum equation.
after columns equal:

Next, create a momentum table and algebraic equation for the conservation of http://www.aplusphysics.com/courses/honors/momentum/collisions.html
momentum in the y-direction.