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The law of conservation of momentum states that the total momentum in a closed system is conserved.

When a car crashes into a barrier, the barrier and the car may crumple but the car will come to a stop. How exactly is the initial momentum of the car conserved?

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I would answer that very differently, because momentum cannot be converted to sound, heat, or deformation. What actually happens is the same thing that would happen if a rock with the same momentum as the car hit the Earth a glancing blow and got stuck: it would change the earth's rotation and orbital velocity by an infinitesimal amount -- just enough to make sure the net angular and linear momentum do not change.

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