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A box is sitting on a frictionless, level surface. A small spring cannon, which is capable of firing a lump of clay, is lowered into the box on a string attached to the ceiling. Before the cannon is fired, the center of mass of the cannon, clay, and box is fixed at a point A. The cannon fires; the clay shoots from the cannon and sticks to the wall of the box. Does the center of mass of the cannon, clay, and box system move? Explain.

A box is sitting on a frictionless, level surface. A small spring cannon, which is capable of firing a lump of clay, is lowered into the box on a string attached to the ceiling. Before the cannon is fired, the center of mass of the cannon, clay, and box is fixed at a point A. The cannon fires; the clay shoots from the cannon and sticks to the wall of the box. Does the center of mass of the cannon, clay, and box system move? Explain.

Grade:upto college level

2 Answers

Navjyot Kalra
askIITians Faculty 654 Points
7 years ago
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Mihir
69 Points
7 years ago
Here, since the surface is frictionless, there is no external force on the system of our interest (box+ clay+ cannon). Now in a concise way of explanation, the center of mass will not move owing to the fact that the motion of clay, cannon and the inelastic collision between the box and clay are internal motions. Besides, the impulsive forces during firing of clay and the collision can be considered to be internal forces. Had there been friction between the ground and box, we wouldn’t have been able to confirm the location of the centre of mass after the collision would have occurred.
 

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