Momentum and Energy in a Collision


Today you will investigate the behavior of linear momentum and kinetic energy for two different types of one-dimensional collisions.  This experiment uses low friction tracks to provide an approximately frictionless surface on which two carts can collide with each other or with other objects.  You will investigate how linear momentum and kinetic energy change (or don't change) throughout various interactions.  It will be necessary to observe the motion very carefully in order to interpret your results correctly.  Remember that momentum is vector quantity and energy is a scalar.  In both experiments the sonic rangers have been set up so that they are using the same origin (i.e. x=0 at one of the sonic rangers, but not both). 

Part One:  Elastic collisions

Part Two:  Inelastic collisions

In your conclusions, compare your results for the two experiments.