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Calculating vectors

  1. Jan 12, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Consider a nuclear reaction in which a neutron travelling 1.0 × 107 m/s in the +x direction collides with a proton travelling 5.0 × 106 m/s in the +y direction. They combine at impact to form a new particle called a “deuteron.” What is the magnitude of the deuteron velocity? Assume for simplicity that the proton and neutron have the same mass.

    2. Relevant equations

    a2 + b2 = c2

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I would think you would just use the pythagorean theorem to solve the problem. When you do that you get 1.1 * 107 The textbook says the answer is 5.6 * 106
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2012 #2

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    You'd use the Pythagorean theorem to add the two momenta. But how would you solve for the new velocity?
  4. Jan 12, 2012 #3
    But if their mass is the same then the momentum should equal the velocity. In the equation

    p = mv

    If m = 1, then p should equal v
  5. Jan 12, 2012 #4

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    If the mass of each original particle is '1' unit, what's the mass of the new combined particle?
  6. Jan 12, 2012 #5
    Thanks, I got it. I really appreciate your help.
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