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PC1431 Experiment P1 Laboratory Report

Nature of experiment: Principle of conservation of linear momentum (PCLM)

Objectives:

(A) To verify whether PCLM is obeyed for the case of 2 objects in 1 dimensional
motion before and after a collision, subjected to negligible external forces. Two
situations are investigated:
• Collision between a moving and stationary object
• Collision between two moving objects

(B) To determine the mass of an unknown object using the PCLM

Equipment:
1 x air track
2 x glider with picket fence
2 x photogate
1 x smart timer

Experimental setup:

Photogates

Gliders with picket


fences

m1 m2
Air track

Smart timer

Figure A: Setup
Part I: To verify PCLM for collision with a stationary object

Situation:

u1 = 0 ms-1 u2
m1 m2

i
Figure B: Before collision

v1 v2
m1 m2

Figure C: After collision

Theory:

By PCLM, since there is no vertical movement and there is negligible friction


acting on both gliders in the horizontal direction,

Initial total linear momentum = Final total linear momentum


Taking components along i,
m1u1 + m 2 u 2 = m1 v1 + m 2 v 2
m1 v 2 − u 2
r= = ...(1)
m 2 u1 − v1

Given unknown masses of gliders, r, the mass ratio of the first glider to the
second can be calculated by (1). If PCLM is obeyed, the experimentally
determined value of r is supposed to be constant regardless of initial velocities.
Experimental results:

(No additional weights on glider 1)

u1 = 0 ms-1, m1 = 0.223 kg, m2 = 0.2224 kg

v2 − u 2
u1 / ms-1 u2 / ms-1 v1 / ms-1 v2 / ms-1 r=
u1 − v1
0.0 29.8 30.4 0.0 0.980

0.0 35.4 36.2 0.0 0.978

0.0 36.1 36.9 0.0 0.978

0.0 46.9 47.8 0.0 0.981

0.0 47.8 49.2 0.0 0.972

0.0 53.1 54.6 0.0 0.973

<r> 0.977

σr 0.004

Table (A)
(100g added to glider 1)

u1 = 0 ms-1 , , m1 = 0.223 kg, m2 = 0.2224 kg

v2 − u 2
-1 -1 -1 -1 r=
u1 / ms u2 / ms v1 / ms v2 / ms u1 − v1

0.0 42.9 34.3 -7.0 1.45


0.0 40.3 32.1 -7.0 1.47
0.0 54.3 42.3 -9.0 1.50
0.0 44.8 35.7 -8.2 1.48
0.0 45.8 36.6 -7.9 1.47
0.0 45.4 36.1 -8.1 1.48

<r> 1.48

σr 0.01

Table (B)
Part II: Verify PCLM with two moving gliders

(Collision of 2 gliders without additional mass)

m1 = 0.223 kg, m2 = 0.2224 kg

v2 − u 2
-1 -1 -1 -1 r=
u1 / ms u2 / ms v1 / ms v2 / ms u1 − v1

-68 75.7 69.4 -64.1 1.02

-75.1 80.6 70.4 -68.4 1.02

-66.6 105.2 88.4 -47.8 0.99

-59.5 72.4 68.4 -56.8 1.01

-42.5 51.5 49.5 -40.4 1.00

<r> 1.01

σr 0.01

Table (C)

(Collision of 2 gliders with additional 100g to glider 1)

m1 = 0.323 kg, m2 = 0.2224 kg

v2 − u 2
-1 -1 -1 -1 r=
u1 / ms u2 / ms v1 / ms v2 / ms u1 − v1

-56.8 50.5 28.4 -73.5 1.46

-50 68 42.5 -68.4 1.47

-73.5 60.9 33.8 -92.5 1.43

-53.1 52.6 30.2 -69.9 1.47


-50.2 45.6 25.5 -65.7 1.47
<r> 1.46

σr 0.02

Table (D)
(Collision of 2 gliders with 200g additional mass to glider 2)

m1 = 0.223 kg, m2 = 0.4224 kg

v2 − u 2
-1 -1 -1 -1 r=
u1 / ms u2 / ms v1 / ms v2 / ms u1 − v1

-35.3 40.3 60.9 -11.1 0.534

-45.2 38.3 60.9 -18.4 0.534

-38.6 52.6 77.5 -9.6 0.536

-48.7 28.6 50 -23.9 0.532

-31.7 46.5 67.1 -6.6 0.537

<r> 0.535

σr 0.002

Table (E)

(Collision with both gliders with 2 unknown weights C3, each mass m kg, on
glider 1)

m1 = (0.223+2*m) kg, m2 = 0.2224 kg

v2 − u 2
-1 -1 -1 -1 r=
u1 / ms u2 / ms v1 / ms v2 / ms u1 − v1

-33.3 42.5 27.1 -44.8 1.45

-39.5 51 32.3 -52.9 1.45

-38.3 42.7 26.4 -50.7 1.44

-36.9 53.7 35.2 -50.7 1.45

-45.6 44.6 26.5 -59.1 1.44

<r> 1.44

σr 0.004
Table (F)

Discussion of results:

Below are the tabulated results of the experimentally determined mass ratios and
the one given by the labels on the gliders:

σr /<r> x Actual r = |<r>-ra|/ra x


Table <r> σr
100% ra 100%
A 0.977 0.004 0.4% 1.00 2%

B 1.48 0.01 0.7% 1.45 2%

C 1.01 0.01 1% 1.00 1%

D 1.46 0.02 1% 1.45 0.7%

E 0.535 0.002 0.4% 0.527 2%

Table (G)

From the table, the percentage deviation of each mass ratio <r> (given in 4th
column) is remarkably low (<=1%). As such, the PCLM is reasonably accurate in
evaluating 1 dimensional collision. Comparing the experimental mass ratio <r>
and the actual ra , the one obtained by experiment matches closely with the given
masses of the gliders.

There are certain factors within the experiment which might have contributed to
experimental errors:
• Air resistance is not negligible if the speeds of gliders is too high. The final
momentum after collision might be less than before due to momentum
transferred to surrounding air molecules.
• Friction along air track due to non-uniform air flow on the bed might cause
friction to act. As such, such external forces are not ignored and the air
track must be taken into account.
Determination of m, which is the mass of C3:

Mass ratio <r> from table F = 1.44

0.223 + 2m
ra = =< r >
0.2224
0.2224 < r > −0.223
∴m = kg
2
0.2224 × 1.44 − 0.223
= kg
2
= 0.0486kg

The experimentally determined mass of C3 is therefore 48.6 g.

Conclusion:

From Part I and II, the results in table G illustrates that the mass ratio obtained
from experimented and calculated using PCLM is consistent and matches with
the real mass ratios of the gliders. As such, there is no reasonable doubt that
PCLM approximated 1 dimensional collisions well.

From part III, given the mass of a known object, the mass of an unknown object
can be calculated using PCLM.

Certain features of the experiment can be improved:

• The experiment can be performed in vacuum to eliminate air resistance. In


this case, an air track is not feasible. Magnetic levitation can provide a
means of no friction travel.