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Homework Help: Projectile motion conceptual problem

  1. Aug 30, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Two eggs, both housed in equivalent protective chambers, are pushed off a desk to the ground. One is pushed with greater force and travels further, while the other is pushed with less force and does not travel as far horizontally. Which egg is more likely to break? (Assuming the protective chamber perfectly snugly holds the egg so there is no jostling of the egg in the chamber)

    2. Relevant equations
    projectile motion, vertical and horizontal components

    3. The attempt at a solution
    In a situation where both eggs are pushed on a flat surface with no vertical drop, the horizontal force does not contribute to the egg breaking or not. It is the vertical force in the first situation that causes the egg to break. Therefore since the vertical force on both eggs in the first situation are the same, both eggs have the same likelihood of breaking (i.e. either both will break or neither will break) My father thinks otherwise, and that total component impact force is what matters, which is why I am posting this question.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2009 #2
    Can someone let me know what is the right answer?
  4. Aug 30, 2009 #3


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    Homework Helper

    Well instead of thinking about projectile motion, I'd think about impulse being the change in momentum Ft=mv-mu and t2>t1, compare Ft1 to Ft2.
  5. Aug 30, 2009 #4
    I see, so

    Egg 1
    m =a
    v1i> v2i
    vf = 0
    Ft1 = mvf - mv1i
    Egg 2
    v f = 0
    Ft2 = mvf - mv2i

    Since abs(Ft1)>abs(Ft2) impulse on the egg with more force horizontally is greater so it is more likely to break.
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