# physics

A small sedan and a large pickup truck experience a head-on collision. Which vehicle experiences the greater impulse during the collision?

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1. Since the forces they exert on each other are equal and opposite (because of Newton's thrd law), the impulses that they exert are also of equal magnitude.

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posted by drwls
2. Small sedan will experience a larger force because the truck is heavier (more mass and more momentum if they both travel at equal velocity) so it's not going to move much from the collision.

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3. Jake's answer is wrong, as your teacher will verify.

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posted by drwls
4. Jake -
Impulse is force times time.
As DrWLS explained, the forces are equal and opposite.
The incident happens over the same time span for both.
So the force times the time is the same for both.

Although both have the same magnitude of change of momentum |mv| your intuitive reply would be correct if we were talking about change of speed. The bigger mass of the truck would cause it to change speed little but the small mass of the car would mean a large change in its speed.

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posted by Damon

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