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Homework Help: Momentum Broken Plate Problem

  1. Nov 19, 2009 #1


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    Gold Member

    Momentum "Broken Plate" Problem

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    By accident, a large plate is dropped and breaks into three pieces. The pieces fly apart parallel to the floor, with v1 = 3.10 m/s and v2 = 1.95 m/s. As the plate falls, its momentum has only a vertical component, and no component parallel to the floor. After the collision, the component of the total momentum parallel to the floor must remain zero, since the net external force acting on the plate has no component parallel to the floor. Using the data shown in the drawing, find the masses of pieces 1 and 2.

    2. Relevant equations
    (See below)

    3. The attempt at a solution
    This question has been posted multiple times at https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=115200, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=50774, and http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061028143914AAiNoia. Therefore, I have a step-by-step process to follow.

    I am simply wondering if somebody can take me through the "whys" regarding this problem. As an online AP Physics student, I am having trouble applying some of the concepts in the online and book material. Specifically, could somebody please take me through the existing procedure with a better explanation of what is happening at each step, up to the answer?

    Thank you very much for your time in advance!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2009 #2


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    Homework Helper

    Re: Momentum "Broken Plate" Problem

    Take the components m1v1 and m2v2 along x and y-axis.
    As you can see from the figure, net x components is zero and net y component is equal to m3v3.
    You have two equations and two unknowns. Now solve foe m1 and m2.
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