Question

A group of students has two carts, A and B, with wheels that turn with negligible friction. The two carts travel along a straight horizontal track and eventually collide. Before the collision, cart A travels to the right and cart B is initially at rest. After the collision, the carts stick together.

1. Describe an experimental procedure to determine the velocities of the carts before and after the collision, including all the additional equipment you would need. You may include a labeled diagram of your setup to help in your description. Indicate what measurements you would take and how you would take them. Include enough detail so that another student could carry out your procedure.

2. There will be sources of error in the measurements taken in the experiment both before and after the collision. Which velocity will be more greatly affected by this error: the velocity prior to the collision or the velocity after the collision? Or will both sets of data be affected equally? Justify your answer.

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Solution Video