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Conservation of Linear Momentum


Conservation of Linear Momentum

Logo for Conservation of Linear Momentum
Two applets demonstrate conservation of momentum.
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Material Type: Simulation
Technical Format: Java Applet
CAUTION: Java Applets may not run on all browsers
Date Added to MERLOT: May 11, 2000
Date Modified in MERLOT: January 26, 2017
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Submitter: John Walkup


  • Reviewed by members of Editorial board for inclusion in MERLOT.
    Editor Review
    Very good quality; in queue to be peer reviewed
    avg: 5 rating
  • User review 3 average rating
  • User Rating: 3 user rating
  • Discussion (2 Comments)
  • Learning Exercises (none)
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Primary Audience: College General Ed
Mobile Compatibility: Not specified at this time
Language: English
Cost Involved: no
Source Code Available: no
Accessibility Information Available: no
Creative Commons: unsure


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Discussion for Conservation of Linear Momentum

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Avatar for Barbra Bied Sperling
16 years ago

Barbra Bied Sperling (Staff)

I spent about 30-45 minutes trying this out. The item consists of four applets.
The first represents cannon balls colliding with a railway car. The remaining
three represent the collision of two railway cars, one of which is initially at
The applets contribute little to the conceptual understanding of momentum or
its conservation. Two can be used to test quantitative predictions, but only for
totally inelastic collisions (assuming that the cannon ball collisions are
totally inelastic, which is not stated nor subject to confirmation). The
remaining two can be used as tests of students' ability to perform quantitative
calculations involving momentum conservation in totally inelastic collisions.
Two of the four questions with the first applet require only the ability to
count; that is, no physics understanding is required on the part of the student.
Furthermore, the lack of specification of units reinforces the undesirable
tendency of students to ignore units. Most annoyingly, some of the applets are
VERY slow to develop.

Technical Remarks:

Two of the four applets do not load under Netscape Communicator (4.75) The
motion of the rail cars is rather jerky under IE 5.5.

Avatar for John Walkup
16 years ago

John Walkup (Staff)

Good applet with clean graphics. Having the mass and momentum variable is somewhat awkward.