CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM
THE AIR TRACK
The air track is a tool to study one-dimensional motion with friction virtually eliminated.
The configuration consists of the track itself, air blower, carts and a collection
of accessory pieces. The accessories include rubber band bumpers, wax/pin bumpers, "sails" and other pieces that are easily attached to the carts.
PROCESS AND RESOURCES
Part I. DEFINITIONS
Using your own words answer the following
1. Define an Elastic Collision.
2. Discuss the how the concept of elastic
collisions applies to Newton's cradle (swinging balls).
3. Define an Inelastic Collision.
4. Combine the equations of conservation of momentum
and conservation of kinetic energy to derive an
expression for the fraction of energy loss in an
inelastic collision. Show all your work!
Part II. AIR TRACK SIMULATION
Print the worksheet below, run the simulation
and answer the questions. Show all your work.
9. Describe the main ideas learned in this activity regarding elastic and inelastic collisions.
6. How is the elasticity related to the kinetic energy?
7. What happens to the kinetic energy in an inelastic collision?
8. What are the values of the coefficient of restitution for the
two types of collisions?
This activity is divided into two parts. In the first part, you will use the links provided to answer some questions regarding collisions.
In the second part of the activity you will use a computer simulation of an
air track to study the conservation of momentum of elastic and inelastic collisions.
Analize the situation of wearing seatbelts in a car.
5. Discuss how the stopping distance is related to impact force in stretching and