Collisions on an Air Table


Collision1Momentum and energy conservation during air table collisions.



Principles Illustrated

Conservation of momentum in 2D.


Collisions are not very elastic with 20 – 50 % energy loss typical. We also have pucks that repel using magnets, and for these the collisions are closer to ideal. The video camera is installed about 2.5 meters above the table. VideoPoint is used to analyse the motion, with average velocities calculated before and after the collision.

NCEA & Science Curriculum

PHYS 3.4


Video camera should be installed well above the table.


Individual teachers are responsible for safety in their own classes. Even familiar demonstrations should be practised and safety-checked by individual teachers before they are used in a classroom.

Related Resources

2D Motion on an Air Table

Teaching Resources

Would you like to contribute lesson suggestions? Contact us.


PIRA 1N40.20


This teaching resource was developed with support from

The MacDiarmid Institute
Faculty of Science, Victoria University of Wellington
School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington


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