Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Impulse and Momentum (Motion Detector)

Figure from experiment 10A from Advanced Physics with Vernier — Mechanics


You are no doubt familiar with everyday uses of the term momentum; e.g., a sports team that has begun to exert superiority over an opponent is said to have gained “momentum.” However, in physics, this term has a precise definition: momentum, p, is the product of the mass and velocity of an object, p = mv.

You have learned that a net force is required to change the velocity of an object. In this experiment you will examine how the momentum of a cart changes as a force acts on it. This will enable you to determine the relationship between force, the length of time the force is applied, and the change in the momentum of the cart.


In this experiment, you will

  • Collect force, velocity, and time data as a cart experiences different types of collisions.
  • Determine an expression for the change in momentum, Dp, in terms of the force and duration of a collision.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Advanced Physics with Vernier — Mechanics

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Motion on an Incline
2Error Analysis
3Newton's First Law
4Newton's Second Law
5Newton's Third Law
6Projectile Motion
7Energy Storage and Transfer: Elastic Energy
8Energy Storage and Transfer: Kinetic Energy
9Energy Storage and Transfer: Gravitational Energy
10AImpulse and Momentum (Motion Detector)
10BImpulse and Momentum (Photogate)
11AMomentum and Collisions (Motion Detectors)
11BMomentum and Collisions (Photogates)
12ACentripetal Acceleration
12BCentripetal Acceleration
13Rotational Dynamics
14Conservation of Angular Momentum
15Simple Harmonic Motion: Mathematical Model
16Simple Harmonic Motion: Kinematics and Dynamics
17Pendulum Periods
18Physical Pendulum
19Center of Mass

Experiment 10A from Advanced Physics with Vernier — Mechanics Lab Book

<i>Advanced Physics with Vernier — Mechanics</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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