Table of Mechanics Demonstration List of Mechanics Equipment & Supplies Lecture Demonstrations

# Air Track Totally Inelastic Collision, 1N30.32

Topic and Concept:

Location:

• Floor Item: ME, South Wall attachment: mainPhoto

Abstract:

A moving glider collides with a stationary one and sticks.

 Equipment Location ID Number Air Track Floor Item: ME, South Wall Air Track Carts ME, Bay A4, Shelf #4 Red Clay Double Steel Door Bin Cabinet Red & White Gas Carts ME, Bay B1, Shelf #2

Important Setup Notes:

• N/A

Setup and Procedure:

1. Place air track on lecture bench, and connect the compressed air supply from the Red & White Gas Cart to the track using an air hose.

2. Make sure that the gliders to be used have clay on one side and that the clay juts out a little off center (see photo).
3. Place two gliders on the track, one on an end of the track and the other roughly in the middle.
4. Turn on the air supply.
5. Give the glider on the end a good push toward the glider at rest to create a collision.

Cautions, Warnings, or Safety Concerns:

• Make sure you are using compressed air and NOT methane gas which is extremely flammable!

Discussion:

In conservative systems, momentum is always conserved. In the lab frame, one glider is in motion and one is at rest. Thus, the total momentum of the system is P0 = m1 * v1 where m1 is the mass of the glider in motion and v1 is its speed. In an inelastic collision, the two bodies stick to each other. Since P0 = Pf , ignoring friction and air resistance, the speed of the two cars together is lower than the initial speed of the first glider. Pf = (m1 + m2) * v1+2.

 attachment: photo

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