The total momentum of an isolated system of objects is conserved
only if conservative forces act between the
of the nature of the forces between the objects.
A truck always has more mass than a roller skate.
Does a truck always
have more momentum than a roller skate?
A ping-pong ball moving forward with a momentum p strikes and bounces
off backwards from a heavier tennis ball that is initially at rest and free to move.
The tennis ball is set in motion with a momentum:
greater than p
less than p
equal to p
Ralph asked me a question about today's reading assignment. Suppose he is
floating in outer space with no forces acting on him. He is at rest, so his
momentum is zero. Now, he throws a ball. The ball goes one way, and he goes the
other way. Before the collision, there was no momentum, and after the collision,
there is plenty of momentum. He has momentum, and the ball has momentum! It
certainly doesn't look like zero momentum, so it doesn't look like momentum was
conserved. How would you answer Ralph?
Momentum is a vector. After the collision there is both positive and negative momentum. The two add together to give zero net momentum.