Posted by Jackie on .
Two blocks of masses M and 3M are placed on a horizontal, frictionless surface. A light spring is attached to one of them, and the blocks are pushed together with the spring between them as shown in the figure below. A cord initially holding the blocks together is burned; after that happens, the block of mass 3M moves to the right with a speed of 1.85 m/s.
(a) Is the original energy in the spring or in the cord? Explain your asnwer.
(b) Is momentum of the system conserved in the bursting-apart process? How can it be, with large forces acting? How can it be, with no motion beforehand and plenty of motion afterward?