What is a collision, Impulse and Momentum?

When one object strikes or hits another body, a collision occurs. When planets strike each other or if molecules collide with each other are the continuously occurring collision in the universe. Consider the condition in which two objects collide. Each body exerts a force on another during the collision. Such force is known as an impulsive force since, relative to the entire motion of objects, it works for a short period, and its importance is usually great.

It is important to know the exact form of the impulsive forces to overcome collision concerns using Newton’s second law. As these forces are complicated aspects of the collision time, it is difficult to identify their actual dimensions that would make it very difficult to solve such problems using Newton’s second law. Therefore new phenomena such as impulse  and momentum are introduced.


Momentum is how the mass of the object that is in motion is determined. There will be momentum in each and every moving object. The momentum of the object is equal to the mass times velocity under the law of physics.

Momentum = (Mass x Velocity) or

P = m x v

Momentum is the quantity of movement and the quantity of matter travelled and the velocity at which it travels is multiplied. When people run, walk, etc. momentum is existing. The car would have the maximum momentum if a bike and a car ride down the street at the same velocity. Because velocity is regarded as a vector quantity, momentum is also assumed as a vector quantity. It implies momentum has a significance of direction as well as momentum.

Types of momentum

The main types of momentum are discussed below.

●     Angular momentum

You would fall off if you attempt to get on a bicycle and try to balance without a kickstand. However, these tires pick up angular momentum when people start pedalling. They will resist shifts, so it will be easier to balance.

Angular momentum is described as the property of any rotating object given by moment of inertia times angular velocity. It is the product of the moment of inertia and the angular velocity of the rotating body. It is a vector quantity, which means that the direction is also taken into account here, together with magnitude.

●     Linear momentum

Linear momentum is the vector quantity and is described as the product of an object’s mass (m) and its velocity (v). To represent it, the letter ‘p’ is introduced and used as momentum for short.

Note that the momentum of the body is in the same path all the time as its velocity. It’s a maintained quantity, which implies that a system’s total momentum is constant. The amount of mass associated with a body that travels along a straight path is linear momentum, also recognized as a force. The trajectory of an entity with a linear momentum may be modified by an outside object with its energy. For instance, your trajectory will be altered if you move forward and a dog runs into you by mistake, and you might fall however you should not be injured too badly since the dog’s momentum was equal to yours.


To understand collisions, linear momentum & impulse are both essential to know. Linear momentum is a quantity that reflects a body’s motion and is represented as velocity times mass. An impulse in Physics is a concept used to explain or measure the impact of force acting to modify an object’s momentum over time. It is defined by the J symbol and is usually expressed in kg m / s or Newton-seconds.

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