Impulse and Momentum Study Notes for GATE ME Exam

By Akhil Gupta|Updated : August 19th, 2021

Impulse and Momentum Study Notes for GATE ME Exam: Impulse and Momentum is an important topic of the Engineering Mechanics which is commonly asked in various competitive exams. To help you score good weightage of the marks in this topic we are providing you with detailed solutions. Go through the Impulse and Momentum study notes for GATE, SSC JE, ESE IES, ISRO, and other Mechanical Engineering exams.

Table of Content

Linear Momentum and its Conservation

A particle of mass m moving with velocity v has a linear momentum which can be defined as the product of mass and velocity. Since linear momentum is the product of a scalar and a vector, therefore it is a vector.

  • Dimensions of linear momentum are M.L.T–1 and units kg.m.s–1.
  • The direction of the momentum vector is identical to that of the velocity vector.

Newton’s second law in terms of linear momentum can be expressed in this way

  • The time rate of change of linear momentum of the object (system) is the resultant force on an object (system).
  • If the system is an isolated one, a law regarding the conservation of linear momentum can be formulated.

Impulse and Momentum

  • Change in momentum can be simply called an impulse. The force of interaction might vary with time in a collision between two particles.
  • Suppose the force is present for a short amount of time, zero before clock time ti and zero after clock time tf and it has a comparatively high value at maximum.
  • The time elapsed for the interaction is approximate, ∆t = tf – ti.

From the figure above, it can be seen that force varies over a relatively short time. The magnitude of the impulse is given by the area under the force curve.

  • We must integrate, over the elapsed time for the interaction, to find the change in momentum:

  • Change in momentum is known as the impulse and is depicted by the symbol vector J.

  • Impulse has the same units and dimensions as momentum and is also a vector.
  • The magnitude of impulse is equal to the area under the force curve between the two clocked times, that is, over the duration of the collision.
  • The impulse vector's direction is the same as that of the direction of the change in momentum vector.

As per Newton's Second Law, the net force equals the acceleration times mass of the object,

Substitution of this can be done into the equation for impulse,


The difference between the velocities at the starting and ending times is the change in velocities,

Δv= v2-v1

Thus, the formula for impulse becomes,

The above equation is called the impulse-momentum theorem. It can also be seen as the change in momentum of an object in a certain time interval equals the impulse of the net force that acts for the particular time interval on the object. With the use of this formula, changes in momentum can be related to the forces that are applied to cause the change. There is a change in momentum resulting from the force that is applied for a specified time duration.

Conservation of Momentum

  • During the interaction of two objects, like that in a collision, forces may be exerted on each other.
  • The forces the objects exert on each other can be considered to be a part of a closed or isolated system and in that case, the forces involved are internal forces.
  • If any external force affects the system, it is called external force.
  • As per Newton's Third Law, if there are no external forces, the internal forces that act between two objects have opposite directions and equal magnitude. Assume the two objects as A and B, the forces they exert on each other are,

  • When a collision occurs, these forces act for the same amount of time. Consider the collision to begin at time t1 and end at time t2, which makes the time duration of the collision as Δt, and the object A experiences the impulse equal to,

  • On substituting these impulse equations in place of the forces we get,

Hence the impulse-momentum equation becomes equivalent to -

  • In this equation, PA1  means the momentum of object A at time t1, PA2 means the momentum of object A at time t2, PB1 means the momentum of object B at time t1, and PB2 means the momentum of object B at time t2.
  • The equation can be rearranged to put all of the terms for time t1 on one side, and terms for time t2 on the other,

  • Without the presence of any external force, the total momentum of the system remains constant. This is referred to as conservation of momentum. 
  • The total momentum labelled as P, for any number of objects equals

Even if the momenta of the individual objects change, the total momentum will remain the same when no external force is acting on the bodies.

Instantaneous Impulse

Example: bat and ball contact

5-Impulse_files (2)

  • The relationship between linear momentum and impulse can be understood by the expression,

  F× t = m (v-u) Where, F = Force, t = time, m = mass, v = initial velocity, u = final velocity

  • Rotation about a fixed point gives the three-dimensional motion of a rigid body attached at a fixed point.

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Akhil GuptaAkhil GuptaMember since Oct 2019
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Rolls Royce

Rolls RoyceNov 10, 2016

Sir i please elaborate the last paragraph i.e rotatipn about a fixed point...
Prakash Acharya
In     Ft=m(v-u)
Does v= initial velocity or final velocity
Rejeti Jagadeesh
How to download this notes??
Laxmi Yadav
Sir please tell me how to download notes

PranjalNov 5, 2019

This is not loading correctly, please fix ASAP
Naga Babu.j

Naga Babu.jAug 13, 2020

Sir please upload friction topics


tags :ESE & GATE MEEngineering MechanicsGATE ME OverviewGATE ME NotificationGATE ME Apply OnlineGATE ME EligibilityGATE ME Selection Process


tags :ESE & GATE MEEngineering MechanicsGATE ME OverviewGATE ME NotificationGATE ME Apply OnlineGATE ME EligibilityGATE ME Selection Process

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