Momentum Lab Conclusion Essay, Research Paper
Momentum has an integral part in the field of physics. However, many people do not know the importance of momentum in everyday life or even recognize it. The truth is that we use momentum in just about every activity that involves motion. When we drive a car we use the principles of momentum to realize how much cushion space we need or how much stopping distance is needed when going a certain speed. Momentum is also extremely important when trying to understand collisions. Collisions occur everyday from examples like on the streets with cars crashing to sports when hitting a baseball. The conservation of momentum during collisions may be one of the most difficult principles of momentum that one has to learn, because we do not see many examples of momentum being conserved in our everyday life. In fact, most of the collisions we see are neither elastic nor inelastic, but somewhere in between the two. When two objects collide, like cars crashing on the street, some energy is lost due to the sound caused by the collision. However, the basic theories that we deal with in physics state that collisions can be perfectly inelastic, elastic, or elastic.
In this lab, we got to see several firsthand observations of small collisions which serve as a model for larger collisions because the principles remain the same. Having two objects of the same mass collide at relatively the same speed, one could see that the total distance traveled after the collision equaled almost exactly the same total distance traveled before the collision. This is just an example of how the Law of Conservation of Momentum is a factual. Being curious, students sometimes question the factual nature of some laws because they just don’t seem to make sense. However, this lab answered a lot of questions that challenged the factual nature of the Law of Conservation of Momentum.
The reason why this particular law was difficult to understand was because the practicality of momentum being conserved in a huge collision was pretty hard to imagine. When thinking of two baseballs being rolled at each other with a high speed, one would generally think that the baseballs would just collide and then stop while losing momentum in the collision. On the dynamics cart, we were allowed to see different interactions with momentum.
Testing a hypothesis or even testing the validity of an accepted theorem or law can be extremely beneficial. By testing different cases concerning momentum, we were allowed to affirm the validity of the Law of Conservation of Momentum and in the process were offered an opportunity to better understand momentum. Momentum is an extremely important part of science and is used still today, especially in high speed particle collisions involving microscopic particles; even though we can’t see the particles, experiments like this one can serve as a model because the basic principles remain the same.