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Homework Help: Conservation of momentum question

  1. Nov 13, 2013 #1
    Hello, can someone explain to me this question:

    A woman holding a large rock stands on a frictionless, horizontal
    sheet of ice. She throws the rock with speed Vo at an angle α
    above the horizontal. Consider the system consisting of the woman
    plus the rock. Is the momentum of the system conserved? Why or
    why not? Is any component of the momentum of the system conserved?
    Again, why or why not?

    The way I understand it is there is no loss in momentum since there are no external forces. No?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2013 #2
    What about the normal force acting on the woman.
  4. Nov 13, 2013 #3
    I believe the normal force changes as she throws the rock, so the vertical component changes?
  5. Nov 13, 2013 #4
    Yes. This component of their combined momentum will change.
  6. Nov 13, 2013 #5
    Does gravity working on the rock also indicate that the vertical component isn't conserved?
  7. Nov 13, 2013 #6
    Yes it is also an external force as far as the system is concerned. It is a force that originates from something that is not part of the system.
  8. Nov 13, 2013 #7
    Okay, thanks for the help!
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