Impulse

What is Impulse?

Impulse

Impulse: In a collision, an object experiences a force for a specific amount of time which results in a change in momentum.  The result of the force acting for the given amount of time is that the object's mass either speeds up or slows down (or changes direction).  The impulse experienced by the object equals the change in momentum of the object.  In equation form

Ft = change of mv

When a sports announcer says that a team has the momentum they mean that the team is really on the move and is going to be hard to stop. The term momentum is a physics concept. Any object with momentum is going to be hard to stop. To stop such an object, it is necessary to apply a force against its motion for a given period of time. The more momentum that an object has, the harder that it is to stop. Thus, it would require a greater amount of force or a longer amount of time or both to bring such an object to a halt. As the force acts upon the object for a given amount of time, the object's velocity is changed; and hence, the object's momentum is changed.

The concepts in the above paragraph should not seem like abstract information to you. You have observed this a number of times if you have watched the sport of football. In football, the defensive players apply a force for a given amount of time to stop the momentum of the offensive player who has the ball. You have also experienced this a multitude of times while driving. As you bring your car to a halt when approaching a stop sign or stoplight, the brakes serve to apply a force to the car for a given amount of time to change the car's momentum. An object with momentum can be stopped if a force is applied against it for a given amount of time.

Example