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Air Track Collisions

Name of Student: Swetha Sridhar Name of Partner: Stefan Karl Lawrence Date of Experiment: 11/10/12 Date of Report: 18/10/12 Aim: To verify the law of conservation of momentum using an air-track and gliders, and in general to provide an analysis of the linear conservation laws. Introduction: a)Law of Conservation of Momentum: For a collision occurring between object 1 and object 2 in an isolated system, the total momentum of the two objects before the collision is equal to the total momentum of the two objects after the collision. That is, the momentum lost by object 1 is equal to the momentum gained by object 2. Consider a collision between two objects - object 1 and object 2. For such a collision, the forces acting between the two objects are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction, by Newton's third law. This statement can be expressed in equation form as follows. According to Newtons third law, F12=-F21 i.e. |F12|=|F21|

If the masses of the two bodies are m1 and m2, initial velocities are u1 and u2 and final velocities are v1 and v2, then the law of conservation of momentum can be represented asm1u1+m2u2=m1v1+m2v2

b)Collisions: A collision is an isolated event in which two or more moving bodies exert forces on each other for a short instant of time. There are two main types of collisionsElastic collisions: This type of collision occurs when the kinetic energy of the bodies before collision is equal to that after collision. In other words, kinetic energy is conserved during the collision. Inelastic collisions: In this type of collision, kinetic energy is not conserved. A portion of the energy is converted to some other forms, such as sound, light or heat. There are two types of collisions that can take place between two bodies 1) Head on collisions (one-dimensional collisions) : the velocity of each body just before impact is along the line of impact 2) Non-head on collisions (oblique collisions or two-dimensional collisions) : the velocity of each body just before impact is not along the line of impact. c) Air-tracks: 0Track.jpg An air-track is used to study motion in a low friction environment. Air is pumped through a hollow track with holes. This film of air acts as a lubricant, thereby reducing friction considerably and thus reducing energy loss. Since

there is very little energy lost through friction it is easy to demonstrate how momentum is conserved before and after a collision. d)Law of conservation of energy: The total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time. If the masses of the two bodies are m1 and m2, initial velocities are u1 and u2 and final velocities are v1 and v2, then the law of conservation of energy can be represented as1/2m1u1 + 1/2m2u2 = 1/2 m1v1 + 1/2 m2v2 e) Coefficient of Restitution: It is the fractional value representing the ratio of speeds after and before an impact, taken along the line of the impact. The coefficient of restitution is given by

is the final velocity of the first glider after collision is the final velocity of the second glider after collision is the initial velocity of the first glider before collision is the initial velocity of the second glider before collision For an object bouncing off a stationary glider: , is the scalar velocity of the glider after collision is the scalar velocity of the glider before collision Results and Discussions: Table 1: Mass of the Gliders

Glider Mass Standard Deviation (g) (g) (g) (g) Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Average 1 223.67 224.72 224.5 224.297 0.554 2 225.47 225.3 223.86 224.877 0.885

The graphs give a detailed picture of the variation of initial momentum with final momentum through analysis of percentage error. This helps us determine the accuracy of the law of conservation of linear momentum as the percentage error can help to understand how much energy was lost during the collisions. Note: A few readings taken for kinetic energy and coefficient of restitution are displayed below. However, as it is not too relevant to our main objective, the graphs have been ignored. The tables have been presented so as to provide proof for the conclusions made. Table 2: Kinetic Energy and Coefficient of Restitution for Stationary collisions
Initial K.E. Final K.E. Difference Percentage Error Coefficient of Restitution g(cm^2)/s g(cm^2)/s g(cm^2)/s % 1514278.392 1404598.134 -109680.26 7.243070961 0.87091222 3112744.421 2095212.149 -1017532.3 32.68923286 0.741896759 5789087.626 5485940 -303147.63 5.236535458 0.88028169 2423416.937 1896730.839 -526686.1 21.73320196 0.8 3989117.659 2828133.733 -1160983.9 29.10377747 0.761399788

Table 3: Kinetic Energy and Coefficient of Restitution for Head-On collisions

Initial K.E. g(cm^2)/s 287027.874 417804.241 491367.687 433168.383 528091.995 672325.436 Final K.E. g(cm^2)/s 257903.63 366171.2 421337.29 386217.89 457314.61 558449.3 Difference Percentage Error Coefficient of Restitution g(cm^2)/s % -29124.241 -51633.04 -70030.394 -46950.492 -70777.387 -113876.14 10.14683367 12.35818962 14.25213659 10.83885471 13.40247297 16.93765136 0.889705882 0.652173913 0.829931973 0.842105263 0.891304348 0.845070423

Table 4: Kinetic Energy for Inelastic Collisions

Initial K.E. g(cm^2)/s 495340.134 898865.324 1339071.89 1158377.39 629402.344 1551801.75 963767.144 Final K.E. g(cm^2)/s 2038.18923 2516.283 23152.5995 5412.80432 1610.42112 20678.2545 10065.132 Percentage Error % 99.58852734 99.72006007 98.27099653 99.53272531 99.74413487 98.66746802 98.9556469

Error analysis: 1. The level of the air-track is non-uniform, and this can lead to various problems discussed in the notes. 2. There exists a small value of friction between the gliders and the track, and due to the non-uniform layer of air, the glider collides with the track, causing loss of energy. 3. As the gliders were pushed manually, there is a possibility that they werent pushed horizontally, i.e. parallel to the track. This results in a horizontal component of velocity for the glider and causes inaccuracy. 4. Smart timers measure average speed and not instantaneous speed so the behaviour of speed/ velocity cannot be approximated. 5. There is significant loss of energy due to stretching of the rubber band, resulting in elastic potential energy and also as heat dissipated in order to stretch the band. 6. Plasticine (sticky-tack) contains its internal energy due to stretching and moulding. 7. The layer of air on the track is non-uniform.

8. The holes of the air-track might be clogged due to dirt. 9. The level of the Infra-Red sensor might not match the level of the flags on the gliders in all cases, which may lead to faulty readings. 10.Outer disturbances such as people walking nearby or movement of the table due to push/pull might cause disturbances in values. Conclusions: While our objective was to show that linear momentum is conserved in all collisions in an isolated system, it was not achieved as the collision was a nonisolated system in which momentum was transferred in and out of the boundary of system and surrounding. Less of this momentum is lost in elastic collisions as compared to in inelastic collisions as the rubber-bands damped the collision more greatly than the sticky-tack. Kinetic Energy was definitely lost due to the collision of the gliders with the track as well as through sound and friction when the gliders touch the track during their motion. The uneven air-flow also supplies the system with momentum as it guides the glider back and forth due to unbalanced air-output at the front and back of the glider. A better way would be to use a magnetic field similar to the principle of magnetic-levitation trains. This would allow the system to remain relatively far more isolated as the concept of friction and collisions with the air- track is nullified. References: 0Track.jpg Tolman, R. C. (1938). The Principles of Statistical Mechanics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Reissued (1979) Thomas, Frank (2002). "Everything You Need to Know About COR". Golf Digest NextTime_HeadOnCollision2.xml