1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Explosion Problem

  1. Nov 18, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A 3.0 kg mass sliding on a frictionless surface explodes into 3 1.0kg masses. After the explosion the velocities of the three masses are: (1) 9.0 m/s north, (2) 4.0 m/s 30 degrees south of west, and (3) 4.0 m/s south of east. What is the original spped of the 3.0 kg mass?

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution
    3v= (1)9+ (1)4+(1)4
    I know this is wrong. I am confused about what to use for the magnitude and direction of these velocities. would it be 4tan(3) for both of them?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Hi ScullyX51! :smile:

    Momentum is a vector, so you must use vector addition, not ordinary addition.

    (since there are four vectors, a vector triangle won't be very much use :rolleyes:, so: ) use x and y coordinates. :smile:
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook