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Recoil Energy

  1. Aug 18, 2010 #1
    I'm not a student of Physics, but I have a question regarding recoil. If a 1,000 pound cannon fires 1000 pound cannonball, is half of the energy/force used and wasted simply for the recoil action.

    For further analysis, let's say that the cannon(with the cannonball inside) were dropped a few feet in freefall. The atmosphere is a vacuum, so we can reduce or eliminate surface air resistance.

    Now while in freefall, the cannon is fired from a perfectly horizontal position. Will the cannon and the cannonball both travel the same, but opposite distance on the horizontal plane?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2010 #2
    You are right. If you can somehow fix your strange size combinations, energy and momentum conservation will tell you that disregarding friction both move in opposite direction with the same speed.

    I'm really happy that our atmosphere is not a vaccum. Couldn't stand it....
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