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Homework Help: Momentum and hammer

  1. Nov 27, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Hi All
    Just need some clarification on this problem:
    In splitting logs with a hammer and wedge, is a heavy hammer more effective than a lighter hammer? Why?

    2. Relevant equations
    F = ma

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I would state that the smaller hammer would be more effective. it has a smaller mass which based on netwons 2nd law implies a greater acceleration. This is in turn leads to a greater force acting on the log of wood. The time over which both hammers act will be the same. but as a the smaller hammer has a greater force, this leads to a greater impulse force and invariably a greater change in momentum.

    Please feel free to correct my application and analysis.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2011 #2
    There should be a point (for average people) where the weight of the hammer counteracts the time where the hammer is in contact with the logs. This should depend on the mass of the hammers and the person's strength. However, you are right that decreasing the contact time would increase the force more dramatically than increasing the mass of the hammer in certain circumstances, and you can justify that based on the dimensions of force.
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