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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What is linear momentum?

Linear momentum is a physical quantity that depends on the mass and the velocity of the object.

Fig 1 below shows an object that has mass m and is moving with a velocity v.



The linear momentum which is denoted by the symbol p and is calculated using the equation below


linear momentum  = mass of object  x velocity of object

p = mv

Hence the unit for linear momentum is kg m s-1

The linear momentum is thus a vector quantity since it is the product of a scalar quantity (the mass) and the vector quantity (the velocity).

We can thus say that the linear momentum of a body is defined as the product of the mass of that body and its velocity

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