Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Graphs and carts

Two identical carts are riding on on an air track. Cart 1 is given a quick push in the positive x direction towards cart 2. When they hit, they stick to each other. The graphs below describe some of the variables associated with the motion as a function of time beginning just after the push is completed.

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 total momentum of the two carts

  3. the kinetic energy of cart 1

  4. the force on cart 1

  5. the force on cart 2

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Page last modified October 9, 2002: P&E06