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Explore and Calculate Momentum

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Ever tried to stop a train with a feather? Do you think you'd be able to do it? Is it a stupid question? Yes, it is, but more interestingly is why a feather cannot stop a train. Most of you will say it is because of its mass - and you'd be sort of correct. Did you know, however, that if you shot a feather quick enough, theoretically it would be able to stop a train?  This is something to do with momentum -  let's look at what momentum is now. 

 

Moving objects have momentum. The more momentum an object has, the harder it is to change its direction. To calculate momentum you need to use the following formula:


momentum (kg m/s) = mass (kg) × velocity (m/s)


Total momentum stays the same in explosions and collisions, as long as no external forces act on the objects involved. When a car travels, everything in it has momentum so that in the event of a crash, forces act on passengers in the car and this can cause injury. If the time taken to change the momentum is increased, the forces on the bodies of the passengers reduce. This is the purpose of seat belts, crumple zones and air bags.

To calculate the force involved in changing momentum, you can use the following equation:


Equation for changing momentum.

 

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