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Exploration 8.3: An Inelastic Collision with Unknown Masses





velocity of left cart = m/s

velocity of right cart = m/s

Please wait for the animation to completely load.

The initial velocities of the two carts in the animation can be changed by entering new values into the text fields (position is given in meters and time is given in seconds). As the carts approach one another they stick together. Restart.

Repeat the animation using varying velocities as you answer the following questions. Right-click on the graph to make a copy that can be expanded for better resolution.

  1. Run the animation using 2 m/s and -2 m/s for the velocities of the left and right carts, respectively. What is the change in velocity of the left cart? The right cart? What is the ratio of these changes?
  2. Simulate collisions using other values of equal but opposite velocities. How does this effect the changes in the velocities? The ratio of the changes?
  3. Run the animation using 1 m/s and -2 m/s for the velocities of the left and right carts, respectively. What is the change in velocity of the left cart? The right cart? What is the ratio of these changes?
  4. Is the ratio of the changes in the velocities always the same?
  5. What is the mass ratio of the carts?

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