Momentum is a measure of an object’s inertia or its resistance to changes in its motion. It is calculated as the product of an object’s mass (m) and its velocity (v). So, the formula for momentum (p) is:

p = m x v

Where: p = momentum m = mass of the object (in kg) v = velocity of the object (in m/s)

Example: If an object has a mass of 5 kg and is moving at a velocity of 10 m/s, then its momentum would be: p = 5 kg x 10 m/s = 50 kg m/s

Momentum is a vector quantity, which means it has both magnitude and direction. The magnitude of momentum is simply the product of an object’s mass and velocity, as described by the formula p = mv. The direction of momentum is the same as the direction of an object’s velocity.

For example, consider a car moving east with a mass of 1000 kg and a velocity of 20 m/s. The magnitude of its momentum would be: p = mv = 1000 kg x 20 m/s = 20,000 kg m/s

The direction of the momentum would be in the east, the same as the direction of the car’s velocity.

Another example is a ball thrown upwards with a mass of 0.2 kg and a velocity of 10 m/s upward. The magnitude of its momentum would be: p = mv = 0.2 kg x 10 m/s = 2 kg m/s

The direction of the momentum would be upward, the same as the direction of the ball’s velocity.

It’s important to note that in collisions and other interactions between objects, the total momentum of a closed system (systems with no external forces) is conserved, which means that the momentum of all objects before and after the collision will be equal. This is the principle of conservation of momentum.

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## Published by Chipa Maimela

2019 Science and Technology SA Blog Award runner
2017 MTN Award Business Incubation runner
2017 MTN Award Best education solution
2016 Science and Technology SA Blog Award runner
2019/2020 NSTF SOUTH 32 Award nominee
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