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Impulse vs Fnet relation to damage?

  1. Mar 30, 2012 #1
    what does more damage an object w/ a high acceleration or a greater momentum

    i was watching one of my favorite tv shows "Justified" and i started to wonder would a bullet moving at a greater acceleration hence greater force (F=ma) inflict more damage or would a bullet w/ a greater velocity, hence momentum (p) and impulse (Δp=Favgt)

    im pretty sure the bullet will have the greatest acceleration as it leaves a gun
    what about Δp?

    and so i guess my question is does impulse generate more damage or is it more newtonian in that a greater acceleration impacts more damage

    obviously m of bullet is same

    So i guess my question is F=ma vs Δp (Favgt) which does more damage in terms of a bullet

    this has been bothering me for about a week now and i can't seem to convince myself one or the other because im pretty sure Fnet has an impact on Favg but then i tell myself the max acceleration leads max velocity

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2012 #2


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    welcome to pf!

    hi mrneuro! welcome to pf! :smile:

    a bullet stops accelerating as soon as it leaves the gun …

    from then on, it's slowing down …

    the damage is caused by the momentum, and by the way the bullet deforms
  4. Mar 30, 2012 #3

    sorry but one more question would a bullet at maximal velocity say 30 m from the bullet tip cause more damage

    or a bullet just exiting the gun?

    i guess im asking what is the reference for p initial for the Δp calculation?
  5. Mar 30, 2012 #4


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    p initial is the momentum immediately before it hits the target (and p final is 0) :smile:
  6. Mar 30, 2012 #5
    Sweet thanks!

    so greatest impulse wil be found at max velocity
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