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Compressed spring momentum problem

  • Thread starter Knfoster
  • Start date
1. Homework Statement

Two lab carts, one heavy and one light, are placed ed to end with a large, compressed spring placed between the two carts. The spring is suddenly released. Describe the motions of the two carts after the spring is released.

2. Homework Equations An equation isn't needed.



3. The Attempt at a Solution The lighter of the two carts would go further right? Why is it that it goes further though, other than it simply being easier to push?
 
Re: momentum

Yes, the lighter cart will go further.
And you actually need an equation here: p = mv
They both get imparted with the same momentum, from the spring.
So why does one have a higher speed than the other?
 
Re: momentum

Is it simply that the velocity must compensate for the smaller mass?
 
Re: momentum

Yes, it has a higher speed because their momenta are equal (in opposite directions though). Since one mass is smaller, the speed has to be higher, so it will travel further before the force of friction stops it.
 

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