Impulse Definition

In physics, an average external force that acts on an object for a specific period can often be called an impulse. Or in other words, an impulse is defined as the change in linear momentum over a particular period. For instance, if you have a car running on a highway with a constant velocity (v), it hits another object. There must have been some force involved during this collision that changed the direction of a car for a specific period that force and time involved in a whole process is an impulse.


Table of Contents

Formula of Impulse

To calculate impulse, you can use the formula listed below, or to find it instantly you can use our impulse calculator.

J = F.Δt


J = Impulse

F = Force driven on an object

Δt = Difference in time (Final time - Initial time)

Whereas the related between impulse and momentum can be described by the illustration listed below:

As the formula of momentum is

p = m.v

Where a change in momentum will be equal to:

Δp = m.Δv

Δp = F.Δt (F = m*a)

Δp = m.a.Δt (Δv = a.Δt)


To calculate the impulse, you can use our Impulse Calculator.


For a precisely learning of an impulse, let us slove an example below:

Suppose a ship hits a glacier with a force of 2000N, whereas the total time interval among hitting in both objects is the 60s, from all the provided data. Find out the impulse of an object.

Given data

F = force = 200N
Δt = time interval = 10s

To Find

The impulse of an object = ?


To find out the impulse, we will use the formula listed below:

J = F.Δt

Putting values in the formula:

J = (200).(10s) = 2000 N.s