Conservation of momentum
Schmidt, Paul W. Formerly, Department of Physics, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
Last reviewed:November 2018
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- Conservation of momentum examples
- Video example: Astronaut pushing a satellite
- Rocket propulsion
- Exploding bomb
- Proof of principle
- Additional Readings
The fundamental physical law stating that the momentum of a system is constant if no external forces act upon the system. The principle of conservation of momentum holds generally and is applicable in all fields of physics. In particular, momentum is conserved even if the particles of a system exert forces on one another or if the total mechanical energy is not conserved. Use of the principle of conservation of momentum is fundamental in the solution of collision problems (Fig. 1). See also: Collision (physics); Conservation of energy; Conservation laws (physics); Energy; Momentum; Physics
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