Isolated Systems

The previous part of Lesson 2 focused on the Law of Conservation of Momentum. It was stated that …

For a collision occurring between object 1 and object 2 in an isolated system, the total momentum of the two objects before the collision is equal to the total momentum of the two objects after the collision. That is, the momentum lost by object 1 is equal to the momentum gained by object 2.

Total system momentum is conserved for collisions occurring in isolated systems. But what makes a system of objects an isolated system? And is momentum conserved if the system is not isolated? This is the focus of this part of Lesson 2.

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