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Impulse Problem

  1. Dec 11, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    In a collision between two unequal masses, how does the impulse imparted to the smaller mass by
    the larger mass compare with the impulse imparted to the larger mass by the smaller one?
    A) They are equal.
    B) It is larger.
    C) It is smaller.
    D) The answer depends on the ratio of the masses.
    E) The answer depends on how fast they are moving.

    2. Relevant equations/
    impulse≡∫F(t)→dt=F⃗ aveΔt=F⃗ Δt

    F⃗ Δt=Δp⃗ =m(v⃗ f−v⃗ i)

    3. The attempt at a solution
    OK, so there is am Impulse imparted by a bigger mass on a smaller mass and the other way around too.
    By definition Impulse is Force x the change in time and with the impulse- momentum theorem it equals the change in Momentum right? So, wouldn't i need the velocity for that then to use the impulse momentum theorem? Wouldn't a smaller mass with less contact time achieve an equal if not higher impulse compared to the impulse of the bigger mass? I am confused. Velocity should affect the time of contact and therefore the impulse right?

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2014 #2


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    Homework Helper

    It is right, the change of momentum is equal to the impulse. Impulse is force X time of interaction between the colliding bodies.

    Can be the contact time different for the colliding objects? Is it possible that "A" is in contact with "B" but "B" is not in contact with "A"???
    The same about the force. It is a force of interaction between the objects. If "A" exerts force F on "B" what force does "B" exert on "A"?
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