How do I determine momentum using mass and velocity? Please someone help me, I'm failing this class.

1 Answer

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The momentum of an object is the product of its mass and velocity. Thus, as the example shows, the momentum of a bird of mass 0.04 kg and a velocity of 19 m/s is given as:

Momentum = 0.04 x 19 = 0.76 kg m/s.

We can solve for the momentum of all the other objects and obtain the following values of the momentum.

Football player = 100 x 10 = 1000 kg m/s

Bullet = 2.4 kg m/s

..... (And so on for other objects). 

Skier = 1200 kg m/s

Using these values, we can rank all the objects in order of least momentum to highest momentum as:

Bird < bullet < baseball < wagon < frog < meteorite < football player < skier < satellite

The higher the product of mass and velocity, higher will be the object's momentum. A satellite being very massive and having a large velocity will have very high momentum. Similarly, the bird has very low mass and hence low momentum. Hence the order seems alright.

This order is not fixed, since the velocity of a number of these objects, such as skier, frog, meteorite, football player, etc. may change. This change will result in a different momentum and hence this order may change.

Hope this helps.