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Homework Help: Trying to Understand Where this Constant Came From in the X component of Momentum

  1. Mar 27, 2010 #1
    Trying to Understand Where this Constant Came From in the "X component of Momentum"

    After asking for help on this problem, my professor showed me how to derive the forumla needed to solve the following question. However, it sliped my mine to ask where the "-2" came from.

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A 7kg steel ball strikes a wall with a speed of 8.74m/s at a angle of 37.3 degrees with the normal of the wall. It bounces off with the same speed and angle. If the ball is in contact with the wall for 0.301 seconds, what is the average force exerted on the ball by the wall?


    2. Relevant equations

    Change in Momentum in the X=-2MVcos()

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Using the formula, and knowing the is no change in the momentum in the Y direction I found the answer to be 323.369 N.

    Like I said, what I am unclear about is where the -2 came from in the formula. Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2010 #2

    rock.freak667

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    Homework Helper

    Re: Trying to Understand Where this Constant Came From in the "X component of Momentu

    Change in momentum = Momentum after impact - Momentum before impact

    Remember that momentum is a vector quantity, they took the x+ direction as positive.

    Since the ball bounces back, it moves opposite to the initial direction (+), so the final momentum is negative

    change in momentum = -a -a = -2a, it becomes like that.
     
  4. Mar 27, 2010 #3
    Re: Trying to Understand Where this Constant Came From in the "X component of Momentu

    Thank you so much. It is clear to me now.
     
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