Lectures on Physics has been derived from Benjamin Crowell's Light and Matter series of free introductory textbooks on physics. See the editorial for more information.... 
Home Conservation Laws Conservation of Momentum Examples A twocar crash with sticking  
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A twocar crash with stickingSuppose two cars collide, stick together, and skid off together. If we know the cars' initial momentum vectors, we can count equations and unknowns as follows: unknown #1: x component of cars' final, total momentum unknown #2: y component of cars' final, total momentum equation #1: conservation of the total p_{x} equation #2: conservation of the total p_{y} Since the number of equations equals the number of unknowns, there must be one unique solution for their total momentum vector after the crash. In other words, the speed and direction at which their common center of mass moves off together is unaffected by factors such as whether the cars collide centertocenter or catch each other a little offcenter.


Home Conservation Laws Conservation of Momentum Examples A twocar crash with sticking 