Glider Interactions

Mass of left glider: kg.  The mass of the right glider is 0.2 kg.

An explosion occurs at t = 1.0 s between two gliders on a near-frictionless air track which sends them in opposite directions.

The interaction is shown in three ways: the animation, the graph (left glider, right glider; co-ordinates can be determined from a left-click of the cursor position (x,y) in yellow box: time in seconds and position in centimetres), and the display showing the current value of the graph for each glider.

Enter 0.4 kg as the mass of the left glider.  Then choose either Position or Acceleration to be plotted on the graph; the animation will begin (almost) immediately. Press the control buttons to pause, step forwards or backwards, to reset gliders, and to play again.


  1. Use the simulation to show that momentum is conserved before and after they move.
  2. Examine the kinetic energy of the system containing the two gliders:
    1. What is the kinetic energy of the system before the collision?
    2. What is the kinetic energy of the system after the collision?
    3. So is kinetic energy conserved? Explain.
  3. How could you determine the magnitude of the force of the explosion?

Be sure to explain each of your answers.

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