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Most likely, any new laws of physics would contain

all our old ones, which would still work under


normal circumstances.

Any violation of the Law of Conservation of


Momentum would be as revolutionary (if not more
so) as Einsteins relativity.

If the assumption is false, then the laws of physics


will be different for everybody, and there is no point
in doing physics.

Every time I let you choose your coordinate system,


I have used that assumption of invariance.

If you assume that the laws of physics are invariant


under coordinate transformations, then the Law of
Conservation of Momentum follows mathematically and
inevitably.

We have just added another toolconservation of


momentum.

conservation of energy (work and energy)

dynamics (Newtons laws, forces)


rotational dynamics is a subset of this

kinematics (motion without worrying about forces)

algebra and trigonometry

What tools do you have in your toolbox?


English!

Before we continue with momentum and impulse, lets


step back and think about where we have come from.

Retrospective

These conservation laws emerge from symmetry


concepts far deeper than Newtons laws.

The conservation law corresponding to space


translational symmetry is the Law of Conservation of
Momentum.

The conservation law corresponding to time translational


symmetry is the Law of Conservation of Energy (we have
seen a special case of this lawconservation of
mechanical energy).

For every conservation law, there must exist a


continuous symmetry.

In 1905, mathematician Emmy Noether proved the


following theorem:
For every continuous symmetry of the laws of physics,
there must exist a conservation law.

But the Law of Conservation of Momentum is much


more fundamental than just an experimental
observation.

which implies maybe we just havent done careful


enough experiments, and that maybe some day we
will find the law is not true after all.

It sounds like an experimental observation, which it


is

The above is a verbal expression of the Law of


Conservation of Momentum.

It has been observed experimentally and verified over


and over that in the absence of a net external force, the
total momentum of a system remains constant.

before

after

FWC means force


on water by car

FWC,x = -30 N FCW,x = 30 N

FWC,x = 1.5 kg (0 m/s 20 m/s) / 1 s

FWC,x = m (vWFx vWix) / t

FWC,x = (mvWFx mvWix) / t

FWC,x = (PWFx PWix) / t

FWC,x=pWx/t

In a time of t=1s, m=1.5 kg of water hits the car.

Step 7: solve.

Steps 5 and 6 are not applicable to this problem.

You can draw a fancy


sketch, but I suggest you
save time and draw point
masses. Make sure you
have SEPARATE before
and after parts.

Step 1: draw before and after sketch.

Important: here is your litany for momentum problems.

Impulse Example: Water leaves a hose at a rate of 1.5


kg/s with a speed of 20 m/s and is aimed at the side of a
car, which stops it without splashing it back (kind of a
fake problem, but thats OK). What is the force exerted
by the water on the car.
x

before

vi
m
after

vf=0

OSE:

Fx=px/t

Conservation of Momentum Example: A moving


railroad car, mass=M, speed=Vi1, collides with an
identical car at rest. The cars lock together as a result of
the collision. What is their common speed afterward?

Step 4: OSE.

Step 3: choose axes, lightly draw in components of any


vector not parallel to an axis.

Hint: draw unknown velocity


(or momentum) vectors with
components that appear to be
positive, to avoid putting
extra signs into your work.

Step 2: label point masses and draw velocity or


momentum vectors (your choice).

M
after

M M

Vf

after

M M

Vf

after

Pf = Pi

because Fext=0

before

Vi2=0

after

M M

Vf

Step 7: substitute values based on diagram and solve.

Vi1

I will assume the friction in the wheels is negligible, so


the net force can be zeroed out here.

Vf = Vi1 / 2

Vf = mVi1 / 2m

p2mfx = p1ix + p2ix

Caution: do not automatically assume the net external


force is zero. Verify before using!

OSE:

Step 4: OSE.

Pfx = Pix
0

Vf
M M

(2m)(+Vf) = m(+Vi1)

before

Vi2=0

Step 3: choose axes, lightly draw in components of any


vector not parallel to an axis.

Vi1

Step 6: write out initial and final sums of momenta (not


velocities). Zero out where appropriate.

Step 5 will be applicable after we study section 7.3.

before

Vi2=0

Vi1

If I had made a pictorial sketch (i.e., drawn railroad


cars), at this point I would probably re-draw the sketch
using two point masses. For this example, I will stick
with the above sketches.

Step 2: label point masses and draw velocity or


momentum vectors (your choice).

before

Vi2=0

Vi1

Step 1: draw before and after sketch.