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Categorizing a Physics Demonstration

  1. Feb 22, 2015 #1
    ABSTRACT:
    I have a collection of springs and disks (masses) to choose from. I have a solid rod fixed to the ground. I slide a piece of sheet metal into the rod to act as a base. I now slide a disk into the rod. Then a spring. Then another disk. Then another spring. And one final disk. I now lift the system (from the sheet metal base) to a desired height. After releasing the system, it drops and we can observe conservation of momentum since the top-most disk will shoot upwards.

    GOAL:
    Under what category of physics would you place this? I want to know what I have to research in order to analyze the physics behind this reaction. (My end goal is to maximize the speed at which that top most disk flies off.)

    ATTEMPTS:
    I've looked into coupled, spring-mass systems, but I don't think that this will help me since my system is not so much coupled but sitting on each other.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2015 #2

    Bystander

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    First quick dirty impression? Newton's cradle.
     
  4. Feb 23, 2015 #3

    CWatters

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    Perhaps I misunderstand the description but how does dropping the system cause the top disc "shoot upwards"?
     
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