Department of Physics and Astronomy


Master Lab Schedule | Lab Staff | Support

Collisions and Trajectories

Physics Home > Teaching Labs > Mechanics > Collisions and Trajectories




Monthly Calendar

Public Observing

Contact Information

Department News

Positions Open


Site Map


Points of Emphasis


Lab Activities

Looks at one and two dimensional collisions of balls with equal and unequal masses. The exper-imental system consists of an iron track similar in shape to a ski jump with a tee on which a ball can rest at the end of the track. The tee can be swiveled so that the ball rolling down the track strikes the ball on the tee directly or off center. In this way one and two dimensional collisions can be obtained. The track is mounted on a platform and the balls fall approximately 1.5 ft before hitting the table top. The landing positions are marked on brown wrapping paper with carbon paper. Starting with the laws of conservation of momentum and energy, expressions predicting where the balls will land are derived for one and two dimensional collisions of balls with equal and unequal masses. The student checks these predictions.

Course Level

Introductory: P3, P13, P15

Student Handouts


Number of set-ups available:

Per lab station:

1 meterstick
2 pieces of black carbon paper
1 plywood fence/cardboard ball stop
1 balance
1 wooden stand
1 iron-channel track/platform and tee
2 C-Clamps
1 wooden wedge
1 large sheet of brown paper
1 tray containing:

1 vernier caliper
1 ruler
1 protractor
2 1" diameter steel balls
1 1" diameter aluminum ball
1 roll of masking tape

Charges apparatus


Last Update:

Site contact: largent@Dartmouth.EDU

Top     Physics Home     Lecture/Demo     Site Map