1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Momentum before and after the collision and relative velocities.

  1. Mar 31, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    If the truck was not stationary but was moving horizontally towards the ball at 25 ms-1, what would be the speed of the ball, relative to the ground, after the collision (in ms-1)?
    Mass of ball = 0.2 kg
    Mass of truck = 20 tonnes
    Initial velocity of ball = 20 ms-1 (to the right)
    Initial velocity of the truck = 25 ms-1 (to the left)
    This is also a perfectly elastic collision

    2. Relevant equations
    P = mv

    3. The attempt at a solution
    So what I did first was equated the sum of the initial momentum's to the sum of the final momentum's to try and figure out what the final velocity of the ball was however it just gave me 20 which is incorrect.


    m1v1initial + m2v2initial = m1v1final + m2v2final

    I found that because we can cancel the final and initial momentum's of the truck due to its change of velocity being negligible I can equate the initial and final momentum's of the ball. However when I do this it gives me a velocity of 20 which is still incorrect.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    You can not ignore the change of momentum of the truck. The change of the velocity is small, but multiplied by the big mass, the magnitude is exactly the same as that of the change of momentum of the ball. Write up conservation of energy and use both equations to solve for the velocity of the ball.

  4. Apr 1, 2013 #3
    Sorry I'm not to sure how that will help because now I'm left with two variables; the final velocity of the final velocity of the ball?

    0.2*20 + 20000*25 = 0.2*vfinal + 20000*vfinal

    I'm not sure what you mean?
  5. Apr 1, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    The collision is elastic. Use also the equation for conservation of energy.
    Also, check the signs of the initial velocities. The ball and car move in opposite directions.

    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted