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Homework Help: Elastic Collision Momentum Question

  1. Oct 27, 2012 #1
    Same question as this link except my teacher changed the numbers. 1996-B No.1 part C


    Velocity of Bock A=4v0

    2. mv+mv=mv+mv

    3. I understand how to do the question in the pdf file. However, I don't understand how the concept applies in my teacher's version. Solving for the velocity you get 2.5 m/s which is supposed to be the answer. However, the question says "the objects separate after collision". Wouldn't they not separate if they both travel 2.5 m/s after the collision? I don't understand how this is possible.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2012 #2
    Is the initial speed of block A the only thing the teacher changed? If so, then it is an inelastic collision.
  4. Oct 27, 2012 #3
    So would this problem be "impossible" to do then? If block B continues at 2.5, then it'd be inelastic but it says they separate. (I got this problem "wrong" on a test btw)
  5. Oct 27, 2012 #4
    Again, if the only thing the teacher changed is the initial velocity of block A from 3v0 to 4v0, then a speed of 2.5v0 for B implies a speed of 2.5v0 for A as well. You say you got that question wrong. Do you know what the right answers are?
  6. Oct 27, 2012 #5
    I got the problem wrong because I made up random numbers. What I did was wrong. The right answer was that block A continued at a speed of 2.5 V0. My dilemma is that would this not imply an inelastic collision if they continued at equal velocities?
  7. Oct 27, 2012 #6
    Nowhere in the problem was an elastic collision implied, either in the original, or the altered problem.
  8. Oct 28, 2012 #7
    Sorry, wrong wording. I mean to ask how is it possible they can separate when they go at the same velocity after collision?
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  9. Oct 28, 2012 #8
    They haven't separated. You're getting too caught up on the wording and not on the physics.
  10. Oct 28, 2012 #9
    The problem clearly says the blocks separate after collision in Part C.
  11. Oct 28, 2012 #10
    Your teacher copied the problem and didn't change the wording. No physics has been changed. You are just obsessing with the wording of a badly worded problem.
  12. Oct 28, 2012 #11
    But that is exactly my problem. Shouldn't it NOT BE POSSIBLE for the physics to be possible with the given wording? If I were given the same problem as the link, I could've done it with ease. I understand the physics concepts/math no problem. When I took the test though I just thought this was a weird scenario.

    It is predicted an inelastic collision with 2.5 m/s of both of them together

    What happens is they actually separate and still both go at 2.5 m/s???

    During the test I calculated and was going to put 2.5 m/s but this would've implied they didn't separate. That is why I ended up becoming confused and doing a bunch of random weird stuff. I understand the mathematical physics but my problem is exactly with obsessing over the wording. It just shouldn't make sense!
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  13. Oct 28, 2012 #12
    I will state it again. THEY DID NOT SEPARATE. Your teacher changed the numbers but did not change the wording. This happens all the time, to the best and the worst teachers. The calculations you did show that it was going at 2.5v0 (not 2.5m/s, you were never given an actual speed), and I've shown you that your calculations are correct, so that is the speed it was moving with. If you had used 2.5m/s you would have gotten the question right. If you still have questions about the wording of the problem, you need to take it up with your teacher, not Physics Forums.
  14. Oct 28, 2012 #13
    Okay then. I shall consult my teacher (another student did and I think she was said to respond with something along the lines of "they just separate"). Thanks for the help!
  15. Oct 28, 2012 #14
    Let us know what your teacher says. I'm really curious.
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