https://chip.physics.purdue.edu/protected/Halliday6Mimg/h10p33.jpg(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

A block of mass m1 = 2.5 kg slides along a frictionless table with a speed of 12 m/s. Directly in front of it, and moving in the same direction, is a block of mass m2 = 6.2 kg moving at 3.7 m/s. A massless spring with spring constant k = 1100 N/m is attached to the near side of m2, as shown in figure above. When the blocks collide, what is the maximum compression of the spring?

There's just too much going on here and I don't know where I'm going on wrong.

m1v1 + m2v2 = (m1+m2)v_{f}

v_{f}=velocity of both masses at the point where maximum compression is reached.

Is this correct?

If so, then the change in kinetic energy of mass m1 equals the work done on mass m1 by the spring:

.5m1v_{f}^{2}-.5m1v1^{2}=.5kx^{2}

But this gets me a negative value, which it should since it is losing velocity, but I can't take the square root of a negative value which I need to do when solving for x. This makes me think I'm doing something wrong.

**Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion**

Join Physics Forums Today!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

# Homework Help: Spring compression with masses in motion

**Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion**