Two particle conservation of momentum representations
- James Vesenka
Two particle conservation of momentum representations: Exploring Conservation of Momentum in Inelastic and Elastic Collisions and Explosions This applet was created to supplement lectures and experiments surrounding collisions for AP or introductory college physics. Students can explore two-body one-dimensional conservation of momentum problems in this simulation by manipulating the masses and velocities of two colliding objects. They can compare both vectoral and graphical momentum representations of inelastic and elastic collisions as well as explosions, a special form of inelastic collision. The main screen on the applet shows both the initial and the final states of the objects 1 (blue) and 2 (red) on axes of mass (horizontal) and velocity (vertical). Two momentum representations are provided: traditional vector arrows, both for each object and the sum, and the area of each object's mass and velocity. The collision slider allows users to choose whether they want an inelastic collision, explosion or elastic collision. When the slider is set to one collision type the rest of the program corresponds to that kind of collision. The controls in the bottom left of the main screen can also change variables within the scenario, both initially and after the collision. For easier use of the program in many different scenarios, controls have been added (bottom right) to allow the user to change the position of the vectors (in case they clutter the space when prompted to have large initial masses or velocities) and the increments at which the masses increase. For scenarios with smaller masses, the mass increment can be set to 1 or less while for larger scenarios the mass increments can be set, for example, to 5 or 10. If the vectors ever need to be turned off, the variable list on the left of the program screen can be utilized, and also clearly shows values of different variables or vectors, so counting on the axes is not necessary.