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Q & A: What is meant by the term impact parameter?

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Most recent answer: 11/10/2009
Q:
A Projectile of mass m,charge Z'e,initial velocity u and impact parameter 'b' is scattered by a heavy nucleus of charge Ze.........My question is that "What is meant by the term impact parameter(b)".
- Prudhvi Raj Borra (age 16)
Machilipatnam,Andhra,India.
A:
Welcome back Prudhvi,
The impact parameter is the extrapolated distance between an incoming particle's path and  a scattering center.  By the way, this is not the distance of closest approach.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_parameter

LeeH

(published on 11/10/2009)

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