Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Center of Mass

Figure from experiment 19 from Advanced Physics with Vernier - Mechanics


In the most of the previous experiments you have examined the motion of a single object as it underwent a variety of motions. You learned that an object subject to no external force moves at constant velocity. Suppose now that the system consists of two objects that undergo a collision. Clearly, the velocity of each object will change as a result of the collision. But if you were to consider both carts as a system, how would the center of mass of this system change, if at all, after a collision? In this experiment you will use video analysis techniques to examine the behavior of the center of mass of a system of moving objects.


In this experiment, you will

  • Use video analysis techniques to obtain position, velocity, and time data for two carts undergoing a variety of collisions.
  • Analyze the position-time graphs for the individual carts and compare these to the position-time graph for the center of mass of the system.
  • Compare the momentum of the system before and after collisions.

Sensors and Equipment

No probeware required for this experiment.

Standards Correlations

No standards correlations for this experiment.

Experiment 19 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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