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Conservation of Energy

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On a frictionless table you launch two identical pucks by pushing them against two identical springs. Both springs are compressed with the same amount. The two pucks have the same shape and size, but the mass of puck 2 is twice the mass of puck 1. Then you release the pucks. At the finish line (dashed lines in the graph), how does the kinetic energy of puck 1 compare to the kinetic energy of puck 2?

- The kinetic energies should be the same. I think the reason for this is that they have the same spring potential energies (which is 1/2 kx^2 which isn't dependent on mass). Thus to conserve energy, they have to have the same kinetic energies at the end. Thus the velocities will compensate for the masses, and two objects will have the same kinetic energy at the finish line. Is this correct?
asked Dec 5, 2013 in Intro College Physics by anonymous

1 Answer

0 votes
Yes, your reasoning is correct. The kinetic energy of both will be the same. The velocities will be different. The heavier puck will have smaller velocity.
answered Dec 5, 2013 by PhysicsDude (21,750 points)
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