In a collision between a huge SUV and a small compact car, the SUV exerts a larger force on the compact than the compact exerts on the SUV. T or F?

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Lee Lubowitz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Force is interaction which means that force in direction in which SUV is moving is equal to the force in opposite direction.

But you were probably thinking about momentum which is product of mass and velocity. So if small car and SUV were traveling at same velocity v but in opposite directions then you would have:

`p_(SUV)=m_(SUV)v` and `p_(compact)= m_(compact)v.` Hence, SUV would have greater momentum `p_(SUV).` 

But, if SUV has twice the mass of the compact and compact is traveling at 2 times greater speed their momentums would be equal:

`p_(SUV)=2m_(compact)v_(SUV) = m_(compact) cdot v_(SUV) = p_(compact)`

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priyaeng | Student

True because the SUV is heavier than the compact car. Force is calculated by mass multiplied by acceleration.



And if mass(m) is large, obviously the force will be large. But we need to claculate the acceleration as well because it could change the answer. If the acceleration of the compact is very higher than that of the SUV, the force of the compact might be greater.


It depends on the values of acceleration of both the vehicles.

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