AP Physics 1 Question 180: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 180


The velocity-time graph shown here represents the motion of a 500 g cart that initially moved to the right along a track. It collided with a wall at approximately time (t) = 1.0 s. Which of the following is the best estimate of the impulse experienced by the cart in this collision?

  • A. 3.6 N·s
  • B. 0.5 N·s
  • C. 0.2 N·s
  • D. 1.8 N·s

Correct Answer: D


D-Impulse is change in momentum. The initial momentum was something like (0.5 kg)(1.6 m/s) = 0.8 N·s to the right. The cart came to rest, changing its momentum by 0.8 N·s, then sped back up, again changing momentum by (0.5 kg)(2 m/s) = 1.0 N·s. Thus, the total momentum change is about 1.8 N·s.