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Principle of conservation of momentum

  1. Jan 25, 2010 #1
    In a test laboratory, a car is crashed into a concrete wall and comes to rest. There is no damage to the wall. Explain of how the principle of conservation of momentum applies to this situation.

    Answer:
    The Earth plus car recoils with same momentum as the car had

    Why "the Earth" and not just the car?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 25, 2010 #2
    I'm not sure I understand your question. But we assume that the concrete wall is attached indefinitely to the earth. So the Earth as a closed system must have a finite amount of momentum. All that is saying that after the collision, all the car's momentum was transfered into everything on earth . since the mass of the earth is enormous in comparison to the car, the acceleration of the earth(and everything on it) is negligible.
     
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