Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Carts and graphs

Two carts on an air track are pushed towards each other. Initially, cart 1 moves in the positive x direction and cart 2 moves in the negative x direction. They bounce off each other elastically. The graphs at the right describe some of the variables associated with the motion as a function of time. For the experiment described and for each item in the list below, identify which graph is a possible display of that variable as a function of time. If none apply, write N (for none).

  1. the momentum of cart 1
  2. the force on cart 2
  3. the force on cart 1
  4. the position of cart 1.
  5. the position of cart 2

Page last modified October 9, 2002: P&E03