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Loss of momentum in supposedly isolated inelastic collsion?

  1. Oct 16, 2009 #1
    I may have made a mistake in calculating, but I just finished lab homework where my calculated momentum was different before and after an inelastic collsion. Is it possible that momentum was lost in the vibration of the impact or something?

    The experiment placed two gliders on a level air track (isolated system) and one glider was pushed into a second one that was station.

    here are my values:
    m for both gliders = .2014 kg
    v1i = .3576 m/s (after the push)
    v2i = 0.000 m/s
    vf = .0716 m/s

    with all that subbed into the conservation of momentum equation for inelastic collsions, i got .072 N*s for before the collision, and .028 N*s for after. That doesn't =0!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2009 #2

    mathman

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    Gold Member

    It looks like an error in one of the velocities. Since both masses are the same, the final velocity immediately after impact should be half the velocity of the moving object just before impact.
     
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