Exploring Conservation of Momentum in Inelastic and Elastic Collisions and Explosions

Main Article Content

Kate Hruby
James Vesenka


A GeoGebra applet was created to supplement lectures and experiments surrounding collisions for AP or introductory college physics. Students can explore two-body one-dimensional conservation of momentum problems in this simulation by manipulating the masses and velocities of two colliding objects. They can compare both vectoral and graphical momentum representations of inelastic and elastic collisions as well as the novel addition of explosions, a special form of inelastic collision. In the following article the importance of momentum representation as a graphical area is explained along with the mathematics of the program, hints for using the applet and how it can be incorporated into the classroom.

Article Details

Author Biography

James Vesenka, University of New England Department of Chemistry and Physics 11 Hills Beach Road Biddeford, ME 04005

Professor of Physics

Physics Education Research with an emphasis on Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences (IPLS).