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Ballistic Pendulum

Ballistic Pendulum

This lesson builds upon the previous two (Newton's Second Law and the First Law of Thermodynamics) by explaining that conservation of energy is not perfectly observed, in that energy is lost as it is transferred from kinetic to potential, and vice-versa. Likewise, momentum is not conserved during collisions, as they are neither perfectly elastic or perfectly inelastic. The discussion covers the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Efficiency, citing various examples of efficiency as energy is transferred. Students will perform an activity in which they use a ballistic pendulum to measure theoretical efficiency as kinetic energy is converted to potential energy when the ball collides with the pendulum.

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