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Homework Help: Linear Collisions

  1. Mar 11, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A block of mass m1=2.0 kg slides along a frictionless table with a speed of 10 m/s. Directly in front of it, and moving in the same direction, is a block of mass m2=5.0 kg moving at 3 m/s. A massless spring with spring constant k = 1120 nt/m is attached to the backside of m2 as shown in the diagram below. When the blocks collide, what is the maximum compression of the spring? Assume that the spring doesn't bend and always obeys Hooke's law.

    2. Relevant equations
    I'm not really sure how to do this but:

    3. The attempt at a solution
    p1=20kgm/s p2=15kgm/s
    KE1=100J KE2=22.5J
    I have no idea what to do now though, or even if I need any of that information
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    A kinetic energy cannot have units of Watts.
    You could consider the center of mass system - before the collision and at the point of maximal spring compression.
  4. Mar 12, 2015 #3


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    mfb's centre of mass approach is good. Alternatively, consider what the relationship is between the velocities when the spring is at maximum compression.
    What conservation laws do you know that might be useful?
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