In classical mechanics, impulse (abbreviated I or J) is defined as the integral of a force with respect to time. When a force is applied to a rigid body it changes the momentum of that body. If the momentum of an object changes, then either the mass or the velocity or both change. If the mass remains unchanged, as is most often the case, then the velocity changes and acceleration occurs. A force produces an acceleration, and the greater the force acting on an object, the greater its change in velocity and, hence, the greater its change in momentum. However, changing momentum is also related to how long a time the force acts. If a brief force is applied to a stalled automobile, a change in its momentum is produced. The same force applied over an extended period of time produces a greater change in the automobile's momentum. The quantity of impulse is force × time interval, or in shorthand notation:
A force sustained over a long time produces more change in momentum than does the same force applied briefly. A small force applied for a long time can produce the same momentum change as a large force applied briefly, because it is the product of the force and the time for which it is applied that is important. The impulse is always equal to the change of momentum. Impulse is measured in Ns (Newton seconds), as both force and the time interval are important in changing momentum.
Read more about Impulse (physics): Mathematical Derivation in The Case of An Object of Constant Mass, Examples of Impulse, Variable Mass
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Famous quotes containing the word impulse:
“Public administrators would get along better if they would restrain the impulse to butt in or be dragged into trouble. They should remain silent until an issue is reduced to its lowest terms, until it boils down into something like a moral issue.”
—Calvin Coolidge (18721933)