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Momentum problem?

  1. Dec 7, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A large, uniform-density cube of styrofoam has a side length of 3.0 m and a mass of 90 kg. It is at
    rest on a horizontal, frictionless (ice) surface. An ice-skater with a mass of 60 kg is standing at rest,
    touching one face of the cube. You should consider all of the ice-skater's mass to be located exactly at
    the position of the cube's side. The ice-skater now pushes off against the cube. When the cube has
    moved 4.0 m from its starting position, how far has the ice-skater moved?

    2. Relevant equations
    mvi=mvf,
    hard to tell what other equations come into play



    3. The attempt at a solution
    tried to use conservation of momentum equation (mvi=mvf) to solve, but ended up falling short since I can't determine the velocities of the cube and the ice-skater. I know information about the side length of the cube and the ice skater's position on the cube will be important in figuring out the problem, but i just can't see how they are connected.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    The conservation of momentum equation will give you one equation with two unknowns - you need to find another equation (or two) in those unknowns.

    You have yet to use the distances - what is the relationship between the distance travelled and the velocity?

    Note: you can also do this in terms of ratios - what is the skaters speed as a fraction of the cube's?
    What does that suggest about the distances they travel in the same time?
     
  4. Dec 8, 2014 #3

    CWatters

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    What Simon said.

    Write your equations.
    Substitute Velocity = distance/time

    You might find that the time cancels :-)
     
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