EXPERIMENT: THE EXPLOSION
PURPOSE: To investigate and compare the forces and change in momentum acting on different masses
during an explosion.
2 laboratory carts (one with a spring mechanism) 20 N spring balance
2 C - clamps 0.50 kg mass
2 blocks of wood stopwatch
1. Use the balance to determine the
mass of each cart and record in the
2. Arrange the equipment as shown in cart 1 cart
the diagram. 2
3. Predict the starting position so that
the carts will hit the blocks at the
same instant when the spring
mechanism is released.
4. Place pieces of tape on the table at
the front of the carts.
5. Depress the mechanism to release the spring mechanism and “explode” the carts.
6. Notice which cart hits the block first.
7. Adjust the starting position until the carts hit at the same instant. (Remember to move the tapes to the new
8. Add enough mass to cart 2 so that its mass is 2 times the mass of cart 1, then repeat steps 1 - 7.
9. Add enough mass to cart 2 so that its mass is 3 times the mass of cart 1, then repeat steps 1 - 7.
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Name: _____________________________________________________ Date: _______________________
CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM
MAKE UP EXPERIMENT: THE EXPLOSION
Trial mass of cart mass of cart distance cart distance cart time
1 2 1 traveled 2 traveled t
m1 m2 d1 d2 (s)
(kg) (kg) (m) (m)
1 .8 .8 .5 .5 1.5
2 .8 1.6 1 .5 1.9
3 .8 2.4 1 .3 2.4
Show all calculations for Trial 1.
1. Calculate the velocity of the each cart after the explosion. Record in Table 2.
2. Calculate the momentum change of each cart. Record in Table 2.
Trial Velocity of Velocity of Change in Change in
cart 1 cart 2 momentum of momentum of
(m/s) (m/s) cart 1 cart 2
(kg m/s) (kg m/s)
1. Which cart moved farther?
2. Which cart moved faster?
3. How do the changes of momentum for each cart in a trial compare?
4. Suppose that the spring pushed on cart 1 for 0.05 s. How long did cart 2 push on the spring? Explain.
5. Name 3 quantities which occurred in equal and opposite pairs during the “explosion” which separated the
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