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Cannon, Tree, and Recoil

  1. Sep 19, 2006 #1
    Question:
    Suppose a cannon is propped against a massive tree to reduce recoil when it fires. Then the range of the cannonball will be
    a) increased
    b) decreased
    c) unchanged

    My Answer:
    I am leaning (no pun intended) on a. Since the cannonball exerts a force on to the cannon, it recoils. However, if there is a massive tree blocking the recoil, the tree should push against the cannon which then in turn should exert even more force onto the cannonball...

    My logic may be a little skewed. Please correct me if I am wrong!

    Thanks,
    Kevin
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2006 #2

    Hootenanny

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    Staff Emeritus
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    Gold Member

    Your inclination is correct. However, a technically correct argument would mention the conservation of momentum.
     
  4. Sep 19, 2006 #3

    andrevdh

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    One could envisage a sort of cartoon situation where the cannon is very light and the cannon ball very heavy. On firing the cannon we find that the ball stays stationary and the cannon itself becomes the projectile.
     
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