Linear Momentum: Collisions
Introduction and Summary
In the last SparkNote on the Conservation of Momentum we defined impulse and momentum, and derived the conservation of momentum. In this SparkNote we study the principle application of our conservation law, collisions. Though this topic is not theoretically important, the methods of calculation described will be essential for solving problems in physics, and in everyday life.
We break up our study into two parts: one dimensional collisions and two dimensional collisions. One dimensional collisions are simpler, and through this section we will introduce properties of collisions, such as elasticity. From this point we will develop equations that can be used to solve collision problems, and give examples on how to solve them. We then extend our concept into the two dimensional realm, introducing further equations and methods of solution.
Collisions are sometimes unsolvable, and always quite complex. We pay a lot of attention to the method of solving individual problems, as they can sometimes be too complex to solve using only our theoretical principles. This topic should be quite applicable to problem solving and practical situations.