Purchase Solution

Decay of an unstable particle: Compute the speeds

Not what you're looking for?

Ask Custom Question

An unstable particle at rest breaks up into two fragments of unequal mass. The mass of the lighter fragment is 2.81E-28 kg, and that of the heavier fragment is 1.31E-27 kg. If the lighter fragment has a speed of 0.803c after the breakup, what is the speed of the heavier fragment? Give answer as a fraction of the speed of light.

Purchase this Solution

Solution Summary

We show how, using conservation of momentum, one can compute the speeds of the decay products.

Solution Preview

You can solve this problem using conservation of momentum. The unstable particle was at rest and thus had a momentum of zero. This means that after the break up the total momentum of the two fragments has to be zero. So, if the lighter fragment has a mass of m1 and is moving at a speed of v1, and the heavier fragment with a mass of m2 has a speed of v2, then that ...

Purchase this Solution

Free BrainMass Quizzes
Variables in Science Experiments

How well do you understand variables? Test your knowledge of independent (manipulated), dependent (responding), and controlled variables with this 10 question quiz.

Classical Mechanics

This quiz is designed to test and improve your knowledge on Classical Mechanics.

Basic Physics

This quiz will test your knowledge about basic Physics.

The Moon

Test your knowledge of moon phases and movement.

Introduction to Nanotechnology/Nanomaterials

This quiz is for any area of science. Test yourself to see what knowledge of nanotechnology you have. This content will also make you familiar with basic concepts of nanotechnology.