A particle of mass M which is at rest splits up into two…
A particle of mass M which is at rest splits up into two. if the mass and the velocity of one of the particles are m and v respectively, calculate the velocity of the second particle.
Momentum before split = total momentum after split
Momentum = mass X velocity
If the mass of the particle is M,
Momentum before split = M X 0 = 0 (because the particle is at rest)
Mass of one of the split particles = m, and its velocity is given as v. therefore, its momentum will be = mv
Mass of the second particle = M – m, and let the velocity of the second particle be V.
Since momentum before split = total momentum after split,
0 = momentum of particle 1 + momentum of particle 2
0 = mv + (M – m)V
mv + (M – m)V = 0
mv = –(M – m)V
or mv = (m – M)V
therefore, mv/(m – M) = V
so, V = mv/(m – M)
Now for the right answer to the above question:
- Option A is incorrect.
- Option B is correct. momentum before split = total momentum after split.
- C is incorrect.
- D is not the correct answer. First of all, momentum is a vector, and so, simply solving with (M – m)V = mv, to arrive at V = mv/(M – m), ignores this direction and results in a wrong answer.
You may please note these/this:
- Velocity of the mass before split is zero because the body is at rest.
- Please note that momentum is a scalar quantity and the direction of its velocity is crucial.
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/ culled from 2016 JAMB-UTME physics past question 29 /