Q. 173.8( 114 Votes )

Akhtar, Kiran and Rahul were riding in a motorcar that was moving with a high velocity on an expressway when an insect hit the windshield and got stuck on the windscreen. Akhtar and Kiran started pondering over the situation. Kiran suggested that the insect suffered a greater change in momentum as compared to the change in momentum of the motorcar (because the change in the velocity of the insect was much more than that of the motorcar). Akhtar said that since the motorcar was moving with a larger velocity, it exerted a large force on the insect. And as result the insect died. Rahul while putting an entirely new explanation said that both the motorcar and the insect experienced the same force and a change in their momentum. Comment on these suggestions.

Answer :

We know that, as per the Law of Conservation of Momentum; total momentum of a system before collision is equal to the total momentum of the system after collision.

In this case, since the insect experiences a greater change in its velocity so it experiences a greater change in its momentum. From this angle, Kiran’s observation is correct.


Motorcar is moving with a larger velocity and has a bigger mass; as compared to the insect. Moreover, the motorcar continues to move in the same direction even after the collision; which suggests that motorcar experiences minimal change in its momentum, while the insect experiences the maximum change in its momentum. Hence, Akhtar’s observation is also correct.


Rahul’s observation is also correct; because the momentum gained by the insect is equal to the momentum lost by the motorcar. This also happens in accordance to the law of conservation of momentum.


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