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Homework Help: Collision is perfectly elastic?

  1. Nov 27, 2003 #1
    Trying to figure this problem...
    A bullet moves with a speed 5560 cm/s, strikes an 8.45 kg block resting on the table, and bounces straight back with a speed of 1260 cm/s. Find the speed of the block immediately after collision.

    P before = P after
    I'm unsure of how to solve without knowing the mass of the bullet.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2003 #2

    Tom Mattson

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    Does the problem tell you that the collision is perfectly elastic? If so, then you will get a second independent equation from conservation of kinetic energy.
  4. Nov 27, 2003 #3
    No it doesn't, it just has a diagram. With the bullet being fired into the block from a distance, on a horizontal plane.
  5. Nov 28, 2003 #4

    Tom Mattson

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    If that is all that is given, then it seems you will have to assume kinetic energy conservation, because that is the only way you are going to generate a second equation.
  6. Nov 28, 2003 #5
    I feel like I have just been staring at this problem and getting know where....

    So, would I need to find the distance or acceleration first and then use the work energy theorem??
  7. Nov 28, 2003 #6
    Think of what role the (elastic) change in velocities for the particular masses has to do with the initial and final momenta and energies.
  8. Nov 28, 2003 #7
    I'm just getting more confused.
    Ek1 + Ek2 =0 to determine if inelastic or elastic right? I'm unsure of where to go, I'm not getting how to approach the question. We've dealt with inelastic problems, determining whether it is or not in the beginning and using the above equation. However, if never approached a question that way. Help?!?!
  9. Nov 28, 2003 #8

    Doc Al

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    Do as Tom says: assume that energy is conserved.

    Now write down the equations for 1) conservation of momentum & 2) conservation of energy. (Hint: call the mass of the bullet "m" and the final speed of the block "V"; those are your unknowns.)
  10. Nov 28, 2003 #9
    Thank you, this really helped!!
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