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# E202: CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM:

## THE BALLISTIC PENDULUM

CALA, Fernando Andre R.
andre.cala05@gmail.com / 2017100203 / CE - 2
PHY11L-C1 Group 01

effectively

Tables (15)

## skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for

engineering practice

Application (5)

Performance

TOTAL

## December 13, 2018

E202: CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM: THE BALLISTIC PENDULUM
Fernando Andre R. Cala
School of Civil, Environmental and Geological Engineering, Mapúa University, Philippines

## Results and Discussion

The law of conservation of momentum, and perfectly inelastic collision were introduced in the first part of the
experiment whereas the initial velocity of the steel ball as it was launched from the launcher and collides with the
pendulum to reach its specific maximum height (see Figure 1). Through the help of the angle indicator, the mean value
of the angle was computed and it served as the basis for the whole computation. Based on the data gathered in the
experiment, the velocity of the steel ball decreases heavily as it collides with the pendulum. The reason behind this is
that the masses of both objects are combined and based on the derivation of the formula of velocity in terms of mass and
momentum, given that momentum is always conserved in collisions, the value for the velocity decreases as the total mass
increases. The total mass of an object/s is inversely proportional to the velocity of the object/s. Thus, the necessary values
in this part of the experiment is to be computed with the formulas given (see Formulas 1, 2, and 3).
In the second part of the experiment, kinematics is reintroduced, whereas the data obtained in the ballistic method
is to be validated through the help of the data to be obtained in projectile method (see Figure 2). The procedure was
exactly the same as the procedure done in PHY10L. Obtaining the necessary values in this part of the experiment was
properly done, and the initial velocity of the steel ball was computed (see Formula 4).
The percentage difference of 0.37% (Formula 5.) shows the accuracy of the data obtained in the ballistic method
compared to the projectile method.
𝑦 = 𝑦2 − 𝑦1 (1)

𝑢 = √2𝑔𝑦 (2)

## (𝑚1 +𝑚2 )√2𝑔𝑦

𝑣1 = 𝑚1
(3)

𝑔
𝑣1 = 𝑥√2𝑦 (4)

|𝐸𝑉1 − 𝐸𝑉2 |
%𝑑𝑖𝑓𝑓 = 𝐸𝑉1 +𝐸𝑉2 𝑥 100% (5)
( )
2

TABLE 1. Getting the Initial Velocity of the Steel Ball, Ballistic Method
mass of the steel bass, m1 = 65.875g; mass of the pendulum, m2 = 239.7g
Trial 1 2 3 4 5
Angle 36.0˚ 36.5˚ 36.5˚ 36.0˚ 36.0˚
Average Angle 36.2˚
Increase in Height 6 cm
Velocity of the Ball after Collision 108.443 cm/s
Velocity of the Ball before Collision 503.035 cm/s

TABLE 2. Getting the Initial Velocity of the Steel Ball, Trajectory Method
Gravitational constant, g = 980 cm/s2
Trial 1 2 3 4 5
Horizontal Distance, x 214.00 cm 213.50 cm 214.80 cm 213.00 cm 214.50 cm
Average Horizontal Distance 213.96 cm
Height from the Reference Point to the Ground 89.3 cm
Velocity of the Ball before Collision 501.193 cm/s

## Figure 1. Setup for Part I Figure 2. Setup for Part II

Conclusion
The first part of the experiment is an example of a perfectly inelastic collision whereas two masses collide
and stick together to combine their masses, and moves in the same direction. While the second part shows
projectile motion. The objective of the experiment is to validate the results of the data obtained in ballistic
method through the help of the projectile method, which is, after performing the experiment, was clearly shown
that the values obtained and computed using projectile method validate the data in ballistic method. In an
inelastic collision, momentum is always conserved, but the kinematic energy is lost. Ergo, it is safe to say that
the principles of law of conservation of momentum was validated. From the derivation for the formula of
velocity, and given that momentum is always conserved, the mass of an object is inversely proportional to its
velocity. Furthermore, the kinetic energy is lost in an inelastic collision based on the given that velocity
decreases. From the two methods used in the experiment, it is also safe to say that both can give an accurate
value for the initial velocity, but the ballistic method is more efficient because it uses a smaller area for the
procedure, than the projectile method that used a larger area.

One perfect application of the experiment with regards to the law of conservation of momentum is an
American footballer tackles a running footballer of the opposing team, whereas the acceleration of the tackled
footballer gradually decreases, and thus, its velocity also decreases. The masses of both footballers were
combined as one that it greatly affected the velocity of the tackled footballer.

References

ThoughtCo. (2018). Perfectly Inelastic Collisions: More Perfect Than Just Inelastic. [online] Available at: