In this case, the unit of vertical momentum is transferred entirely to the mass on the right, so that
Note that the velocity of the center-of-mass is the same as it was when we hit the midpoint of the rod. This is an important general equivalence: The sum of all external force vectors acting on a rigid body can be applied as a single resultant force vector to the total mass concentrated at the center of mass to find the linear (translational) motion produced. (Recall from §B.4.1 that such a sum is the same as the sum of all radially acting external force components, since the tangential components contribute only to rotation and not to translation.)
All of the kinetic energy is in the mass on the right just after time zero:
However, after time zero, things get more complicated, because the mass on the left gets dragged into a rotation about the center of mass.
To simplify ongoing analysis, we can define a body-fixed frame of referenceB.16 having its origin at the center of mass. Let denote a velocity in this frame. Since the velocity of the center of mass is , we can convert any velocity in the body-fixed frame to a velocity in the original frame by adding to it, viz.,
In summary, we defined a moving body-fixed frame having its origin at the center-of-mass, and the total kinetic energy was computed to be
It is important to note that, after time zero, both the linear momentum of the center-of-mass ( ), and the angular momentum in the body-fixed frame ( ) remain constant over time.B.17 In the original space-fixed frame, on the other hand, there is a complex transfer of momentum back and forth between the masses after time zero.
Similarly, the translational kinetic energy of the total mass, treated as being concentrated at its center-of-mass, and the rotational kinetic energy in the body-fixed frame, are both constant after time zero, while in the space-fixed frame, kinetic energy transfers back and forth between the two masses. At all times, however, the total kinetic energy is the same in both formulations.
Striking the Rod in the Middle