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Two colliding particles, finding ratio of M/m

  1. Jan 21, 2016 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A particle of mass m and initial velocity v0 collides elastically with a particle of unknown mass M coming from the opposite direction as shown in the left-hand sketch on the next page. After the collision, m has velocity v0/2 at right angles to the incident direction, and M moves off in the direction shown in the sketch. Find the ratio M/m.

    2. Relevant equations

    None given, although I'd assume the elastic condition collision equations.

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I don't even know where to begin.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2016 #2

    PeroK

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    Welcome to Physics forums.

    Have you ever heard of the conservation laws?
     
  4. Jan 21, 2016 #3
    I'm sorry if this question is trivial. It's just I cannot seem to wrap my head around how I can use momentum conservation with kinetic energy conservation to find this ratio, especially when I have no idea what the other velocity is.
     
  5. Jan 21, 2016 #4

    PeroK

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    So you do know where to begin! I can't see any diagram. Where is M moving after the collision?

    If you don't know a quantity, then use a variable. Eventually, you should be able to cancel it out of your equations.

    What can you say about conservation of momentum in this collision?
     
  6. Jan 21, 2016 #5
    Aah, sorry. Here's the diagram. It's the one to the left under 6.9. (https://goo.gl/Pc87AW)

    Momentum is conserved. Don't think there's more to be said than that, is there?
     
  7. Jan 21, 2016 #6

    PeroK

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    Hint: Momentum is a vector quantity.

    I'm going offline now. I'm sure someone else will pick I up.
     
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