Virtual physics lab on conservation of momentum.


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Finding Muzzle Velocity of AK47 Shell – Interactive 3D Simulation

This is a student or teacher controlled, realistic 3d simulation of an experiment that allows the muzzle velocity of a shell to be calculated using a ballistic balance. An AK47 fires a shell into a suspended block of wood imparting its kinetic energy into the potential energy of the block and shell combined at its highest position of its swing. Equating these two energies, and taking consideration of the equivalence of the momentums of the shell, and the shell and block together gives the required result.

The user controls the firing of the rifle and measures the extent of the swing of the ballistic balance. The user is free to move anywhere within the laboratory in order to interact with the apparatus.

Try a simulation here:
Instructions on performing the experiment and controlling the simulation are within the simulation

There is also a video of this simulation here:

The simulation is perfect for demonstrating this experiment in front of the class but can also be used by students in a variety of ways:

• Directly to prepare for a laboratory experiment by familiarising them with the equipment to be used and the methodology of the experiment.

• As revision for an experiment that has previously been performed in the laboratory.

• For home-learning where there is no access to a laboratory.

• To make up for an experiment missed due to sickness.

• As a personal experience of an experiment normally only performed by the teacher in front of the class.

Download contains a PowerPoint giving full instructions including a video, background on the Physics and link to the simulation.

The Virtual Physics Laboratory of which this simulation is a part, has the Association for Science Education’s Green Tick of Approval. More information can be found on our website at

I’ve found your software very useful when a concept comes up with pupils and I have to demonstrate something really quickly without having the time to set up a formal experiment for them. The graphics are great and I really like the ability to move around the classroom and observe the experiment from different aspects. I am far more likely to go to one of your interactive experiments if it’s demonstrating something that we don’t have equipment for.“

Andrew McPhee Wellington School

I thought that the controls were pretty easy to get used to and the detail in the apparatus was excellent being able to zoom in and see the set up of the multi-meter and read scales, being careful of parallax. This type of software is most useful in experiments which can’t be done in the lab like the gravity on the moon or where the equipment is too expensive or difficult to use like the Millikan Oil drop.”

​Physics Scholar Coordinator.

This product is for a single user and is for personal and classroom use only. Copying any part of this resource is forbidden and violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Purchasing and downloading this product is your consent to these conditions.

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Last Update: 1st March 2024
Released: 22nd February 2024