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Homework Help: Which is more likely to topple you - catching a ball or bouncing off

  1. Oct 27, 2005 #1
    Does this sound right?
    You are standing on a log and a friend is trying to knock you off.
    He throws the ball at you. You can catch it, or you can let it bounce off of you.
    Which is more likely to topple you, catching the ball or letting it bounce off?
    Briefly explain what physics you used to reach your conclusion. ----> I think catching the ball will be more likely to topple you because there is less momentum when the ball bounces off you than if you catch it, becasue the rest of the ball's velocity will "go onto you" thus making you topple over, generally speaking.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2005 #2


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    Why would there be less momentum upon impact? Thinka bout it, as far as momentum goes, whats the difference if you catch it vs if you let it hit you (as long as you ignore the idea that you can "gently" catch a ball)? Whats the change in momentum in each situation and where does that energy it go in each case?
  4. Oct 27, 2005 #3
    I think its letting it bounce off you is more likely to topple you, cos by catching it, you can increase the time of contact, and so the average force is less, since F = m(v-u)t, if m(v-u) is a constant, then the larger the time, the lower the average force.
    btw, tried that equation thing, but failed...
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