1N30.XX Cart Collisions


Conservation of linear momentum, conservation of energy


Carts collide or push off each other in an explosion. The carts can be loaded with additional mass, and the degree of elasticity of a collision can be changed. Magnets repel the carts for an elastic collision while velcro makes the carts stick together for a completely inelastic collision.



  • [1] Cart track
  • [2] Cart
  • [3] Cart mass
  • [2] Lab jack
  • [1] Pen

Classroom Assembly

  1. Place the track on top of the lab jacks.
  2. Level the track using the jacks.


  1. Place the carts in the desired configuration. Magnets face each other for elastic collisions. Velcro sides face each other for completely inelastic collisions. A magnet side faces a velcro side for explosions.
  2. Add masses to the carts as desired.
  3. Set off the collision or explosion. For collisions, push one cart into another. For explosions, set off the plunger using a pen.


Additional Resources


  • PIRA 1N30.XX


  • Don't attempt this at home!

Last revised

  • 2020


  • Each cart mass is about the same mass as a cart at 250 g each.
  • The carts are PASCars from Pasco, part number ME-6950.
  • We also have Pasco plunger carts and collision carts, part numbers ME-9430 and ME-9454. These carts are 500 g each and you can place additional 500 g masses in the carts.

Related AV

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If you have any questions about the demos or notes you would like to add to this page, contact Ricky Chu at ricky_chu AT sfu DOT ca.