# How does momentum work in an explosion?

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#1
Say we are in a situation of a particle exploding, and two particles merge from it, each going at different velocities.

How can momentum be modelled here and is the conservation of momentum applicable in such a situation?
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4 years ago
#2
Not sure how you could model momentum here, if the particle is just exploding from still then there is no initial momentum to be conserved. But if it is colliding with another particle then momentum should be conserved from the collision. I'm doing As physics at the moment so perhaps somebody more qualified could give an accurate answer, really interesting question though!
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4 years ago
#3
(Original post by RickHendricks)
Say we are in a situation of a particle exploding, and two particles merge from it, each going at different velocities.

How can momentum be modelled here and is the conservation of momentum applicable in such a situation?
Yes, conservation of momentum does hold, and you apply it in the usual way, remembering that momentum is a vector. So a single "particle",initially at rest, splitting into two sub-particles of equal mass will leave the scene of the explosion in opposite directions at the same speed as the initial momentum is zero and therefore the sum of the momenta of the two particles after the explosion must sum to zero.
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4 years ago
#4
(Original post by RickHendricks)
Say we are in a situation of a particle exploding, and two particles merge from it, each going at different velocities.

How can momentum be modelled here and is the conservation of momentum applicable in such a situation?
(Original post by Gregorius)
Yes, conservation of momentum does hold, and you apply it in the usual way, remembering that momentum is a vector. So a single "particle",initially at rest, splitting into two sub-particles of equal mass will leave the scene of the explosion in opposite directions at the same speed as the initial momentum is zero and therefore the sum of the momenta of the two particles after the explosion must sum to zero.
If the particles have different masses, they will have to leave at different speeds in order that the total momentum is 0.
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