What does the law of conservation of momentum mean?

1 Answer
Mar 5, 2018

It means that in a collision (even an inelastic collision) total momentum after the collision is the same as total momentum before the collision.


Momentum before = momentum after
#m_1*u_1 + m_2*u_2 = m_1*v_1 + m_2*v_2#
where the u terms are initial velocity and the v terms are velocity after the collision.

If the 2 become stuck together, then #v_1 = v_2# so we can simplify the above formula to

#m_1*u_1 + m_2*u_2 = (m_1 + m_2)*v#

I hope this helps,