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Glancing Elastic Collison

  1. Apr 18, 2014 #1
    1. Two masses, m and M are involved in a glacing collision as seen below where θ and ø= pi/2.
    If M = nm what must n be such that the collision is elastic?

    Remember if θ+ø=pi/2 then cos(θ)=sin(ø) and cos(ø)=sin(θ)


    2. I am suppose to find an number for n.

    3. ∑KEo=∑KEf

    substitute m[itex]_{1}[/itex]n for m[itex]_{2}[/itex] and cancel the 1/2m[itex]_{1}[/itex]


    Not sure what to do from here please help. I know I'm probably suppose to use the θ and ø, but I'm not sure how to incorporate it.

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Known: M=nm, θ+ø=pi/2
    Unknown: n

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution

    PS sorry I kinda messed this up it is my first post.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2014 #2
  4. Apr 18, 2014 #3

    Andrew Mason

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    From conservation of energy:

    mv02 = nmv12 + mv22

    which can be rewritten:

    (1) [itex]v_0^2 = nv_1^2 + v_2^2[/itex]

    Now draw the vectors for the initial and final momenta of each body. What is the relationship between the initial total momentum and the final total momentum?

    Since the final momentum vectors are at right angles to each other, what is the length of the sum of those two vectors (i.e. the magnitude of the final total momentum)? How is that length related to the length of the initial momentum vector?

    Now compare that relationship with (1).

  5. Apr 19, 2014 #4
    The momentum should be equal since it is elastic so I'm assuming the vector before the collision should be equal to the vectors after the collision right? So I solved for two different equations. Separated them by x and y components. I'm not sure what to solve for now. I really need help I have to present this to the class on Monday!
    ImageUploadedByPhysics Forums1397929557.646723.jpg
  6. Apr 19, 2014 #5
    while that method will work, it is easier to follow Andrew Mason's advice and draw the diagram representing the addition of the two vectors (the momenta of the two objects after collision). Every diagram representing the addition of two vectors is a triangle. For this problem that triangle turns out to be a square triangle which allows you to use Pythagoras theorem to relate the momenta of the particles before and after the collision.
  7. Apr 19, 2014 #6
    How does finding that vector help me solve for n?
  8. Apr 19, 2014 #7
    It will give you another equation. right now you have only one equation [itex]v^{2}_{o1}=v^{2}_{f1}+nv^{2}_{f2},[/itex] but that isn't enough because you don't know the speeds.
  9. Apr 19, 2014 #8

    Okay so is this correct? Can you square both sides of that equation?
    Here is my attempt and now I'm stuck...
    ImageUploadedByPhysics Forums1397930687.612270.jpg
  10. Apr 19, 2014 #9
    You're almost there. Your triangle looks right, but you labeled it with speeds v. speed isn't a conserved quantity. you should've labeled the triangle with momenta p where p = mv. Momentum is a conserved quantity.
  11. Apr 19, 2014 #10
    When I change it to momentum I think it just solves for the equation we already have right?
    By the way thank you so much for helping!!! I'm sorry I'm so bad at this :/
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  12. Apr 19, 2014 #11
    No, not right. You get a different equation. Do it.
  13. Apr 19, 2014 #12
    My attempt:
    ImageUploadedByPhysics Forums1397932555.307993.jpg
  14. Apr 19, 2014 #13
    Yes, that's the equation. Now, what can be canceled out of that equation at the bottom of the page?
  15. Apr 19, 2014 #14

    Andrew Mason

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    Ok. So what value of n satisfies that relationship:

    [itex]v_{f1}^2 + (nv_{f2})^2 = (v_{f1}^2 + nv_{f2}^2)[/itex]

    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  16. Apr 19, 2014 #15
    Is it just 1?
  17. Apr 19, 2014 #16
    ding ding ding!!!
  18. Apr 19, 2014 #17
    Sweet haha thanks you guys so much!
  19. Apr 19, 2014 #18

    Andrew Mason

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    Very good. Is that a guess? Work it out algebraically to show that n = 1 and then we will give you full marks.

  20. Apr 19, 2014 #19
    There is another solution. Can you see it?
  21. Apr 19, 2014 #20
    I'm guessing zero so I should probably put both
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