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    Investigation of Elastic collisions of frictionless gliders

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    A 0.143 kg glider is moving to the right on a frictionless, horizontal air track with a speed of 0.840 m/s. It has a head-on collision with a 0.303 kg glider that is moving to the left with a speed of 2.25 m/s . Suppose the collision is elastic.

    Alright, I used the conservation of kinetic energy on this one and I have two variables that are unknown and I am unclear on what to do.

    A) Find the magnitude of the final velocity of the 0.143 kg glider.

    B) Find the magnitude of the final velocity of the 0.303 kg glider.

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    Solution Preview

    See the attached file.

    I always do a drawing of the situation described in a question as an aid to understanding

    Before the collision of two air gliders

    After collision of two air gliders

    Conservation of linear momentum applies (I have drawn an x axis as shown to show the positive reference direction so velocities are relative to this direction)

    Conservation of linear momentum can be described by (1) below

    Momentum before collision = Momentum after collision

    M1*V1 + M2*V2 = M1*V3 + M2*V4 (1)

    We are also told that the collision is elastic so this implies that total KE is conserved

    Total KE before collision = Total KE after ...

    Solution Summary

    Known input parameters such as the velocities and masses of two gliders undergoing elastic collisions is used to determine the final velocities of these gliders. Conservation of linear momentum and conservation of kinetic energy rules are applied to determine these final velocities