Warm-Up Exercise for lecture 11

Due 8:00 am, Tues, 6 Oct 2009

Physics 105, Fall 2009

The total momentum of an isolated system of objects is conserved
☐ only if conservative forces act between the objects
☑ regardless of the nature of the forces between the objects.

A truck always has more mass than a roller skate. Does a truck always have more momentum than a roller skate?
☐ yes
☑ no

A ping-pong ball moving forward with a momentum p strikes and bounces off backwards from a heavier tennis ball that is initially at rest and free to move. The tennis ball is set in motion with a momentum:
☑ greater than p
☐ less than p
☐ equal to p

Ralph asked me a question about today's reading assignment. Suppose he is floating in outer space with no forces acting on him. He is at rest, so his momentum is zero. Now, he throws a ball. The ball goes one way, and he goes the other way. Before the collision, there was no momentum, and after the collision, there is plenty of momentum. He has momentum, and the ball has momentum! It certainly doesn't look like zero momentum, so it doesn't look like momentum was conserved. How would you answer Ralph?
Momentum is a vector. After the collision there is both positive and negative momentum. The two add together to give zero net momentum.

Return to Course Page