Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Video on mass and inertia - Train vs Car

Once again, Top Gear strikes with another educational video!

Can't view? Click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3QKRl43i4g

Some points to ponder:

  • The train has a bigger mass than the car. And hence the train has a bigger inertia.
  • The train, after colliding with the car, moved it some distance until it finally stopped.
  • If the roles are now reversed, and that the car travels at the same speed as the train and collides into it, will the car be able to move the train as far away as the car was moved? Why? Why not?
  • Is inertia due to weight or mass? Imagine now that both car and train is floating in space. Will colliding a stationary train with a car at 80 miles/hr be the same as colliding a stationary car with a train at 80 miles/hr achieve the same result in outer space?

The video shows that a bigger mass (train) tends to remain at rest or in motion i.e. is more resistant to a change in motion than a smaller mass. This resistance is called inertia.

Bigger the mass, greater the inertia.

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