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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Identify the type of collision
  • Correctly label a collision as elastic or inelastic
  • Use kinetic energy along with momentum and impulse to analyze a collision

Although momentum is conserved in all interactions, not all interactions (collisions or explosions) are the same. The possibilities include:

  • A single object can explode into multiple objects (one-to-many).
  • Multiple objects can collide and stick together, forming a single object (many-to-one).
  • Multiple objects can collide and bounce off of each other, remaining as multiple objects (many-to-many). If they do bounce off each other, then they may recoil at the same speeds with which they approached each other before the collision, or they may move off more slowly.

It’s useful, therefore, to categorize different types of interactions, according to how the interacting objects move before and after the interaction.

One-to-many

The first possibility is that a single object may break apart into two or more pieces. An example of this is a firecracker, or a bow and arrow, or a rocket rising through the air toward space. These can be difficult to analyze if the number of fragments after the collision is more than about three or four; but nevertheless, the total momentum of the system before and after the explosion is identical.

Note that if the object is initially motionless, then the system (which is just the object) has no momentum and no kinetic energy. After the explosion, the net momentum of all the pieces of the object must sum to zero (since the momentum of this closed system cannot change). However, the system will have a great deal of kinetic energy after the explosion, although it had none before. Thus, we see that, although the momentum of the system is conserved in an explosion, the kinetic energy of the system most definitely is not; it increases. This interaction—one object becoming many, with an increase of kinetic energy of the system—is called an explosion    .

Where does the energy come from? Does conservation of energy still hold? Yes; some form of potential energy is converted to kinetic energy. In the case of gunpowder burning and pushing out a bullet, chemical potential energy is converted to kinetic energy of the bullet, and of the recoiling gun. For a bow and arrow, it is elastic potential energy in the bowstring.

Many-to-one

The second possibility is the reverse: that two or more objects collide with each other and stick together, thus (after the collision) forming one single composite object. The total mass of this composite object is the sum of the masses of the original objects, and the new single object moves with a velocity dictated by the conservation of momentum. However, it turns out again that, although the total momentum of the system of objects remains constant, the kinetic energy doesn’t; but this time, the kinetic energy decreases. This type of collision is called inelastic    .

In the extreme case, multiple objects collide, stick together, and remain motionless after the collision. Since the objects are all motionless after the collision, the final kinetic energy is also zero; the loss of kinetic energy is a maximum. Such a collision is said to be perfectly inelastic    .

Questions & Answers

what is three dimensional coordinate system?
Sachindra Reply
considering the change of vectors in all three dimensions of space
vedanth
direction co-sign of vector questions
Vipin Reply
opposite
Sonu
opposite mean
Vipin
what is the different between action and reaction?
Asali Reply
action is external force. Reaction exists because of the external action. Reaction is mostly an internal force
Yoblaze
The difference is said in the word itself. There is no existance of reaction without an application of action. So action occur first then reaction. Reaction may produce in body itself or to other body i.e., it may be internal or external.
Amalesh
what is total energy
Israel Reply
kenetic energy + potential energy + rotational energy
Tony
any body or object can have it ..even in the molecular level
Tony
As you eat your way through a bag of chocolate chip cookies, you observe that each cookie is a circular disk of diameter 8.50 ± 0.02 cm and thickness 0.050 ± 0.005 cm. Find the average volume of a cookie and the uncertainty in the volume.
Mike Reply
how can proportionality sign can be replaced by = and propotionality constant aznd why?🙄🙄
Yanjeen Reply
because proportionality means linear relationship between the variables involved
Ranjan
When we say to quantities are proportional to each other, what we mean is that the variables maintain a constant ratio to each other.
Ranjan
let us consider an equation y= mx here y and x are variables and m is constant so whenever we divide y by x it maintains constant ratio called m , if m = 1 y=x if m doesn't equal 1 it may be other but for a closed function it is always same I.e the ratio remains constant
krishna
this applying for closed function proportionality sign can be replaced by = followed by a constant multiplier ratio
krishna
considering the propagation of a wave along the x direction on a vibrating string,how can one derive the one dimensional wave equation for the vibrating sting and the speed expression
Tebovanessapi@gmail. Reply
show whether or not the expression v^2= u^2 sin^2 d- 2gs is dimensionally constant
Oyetayo Reply
the period T of a pendulum depends on its mass m, length l and acceleration due to gravity g. using dimensional analysis, derive for T.
Oyetayo
what is physics
Satyabrata Reply
Physics is the tool humans use to understand the properties characteristics and interactions of where they live - the universe. Thus making laws and theories about the universe in a mathematical way derived from empirical results yielded in tons of experiments.
Jomari
This tool, the physics, also enhances their way of thinking. Evolving integrating and enhancing their critical logical rational and philosophical thinking since the greeks fired the first neurons of physics.
Jomari
nice
Satyabrata
Physics is also under the category of Physical Science which deals with the behavior and properties of physical quantities around us.
Angelo
Physical Science is under the category of Physics*... I prefer the most is Theoretical Physics where it deals with the philosophical view of our world.
Jomari
what is unit
Satyabrata Reply
Metric unit
Arzoodan
A unit is what comes after a number that gives a precise detail on what the number means. For example, 10 kilograms, 10 is the number while "kilogram" is the unit.
Angelo
there are also different types of units, but metric is the most widely used. It is called the SI system. Please research this on google.
Angelo
Unit? Bahay yon
Jomari
How did you get the value as Dcd=0.2Dab
ebewele Reply
Why as Dcd=0.2Dab? where are you got this formula?...
Arzoodan
since the distance Dcd=1.2 and the distance Dab=6.0 the ratio 1.2/6.0 gives the equation Dcd=0.2Dab
sunday
Well done.
Arzoodan
how do we add or deduct zero errors from result gotten using vernier calliper?
Aina Reply
how can i understand if the function are odd or even or neither odd or even
hamzaani
I don't get... do you mean positive or negative@hamzaani
Aina
Verner calliper is an old calculator
Antonio
Function is even if f(-x) =f(x)
Antonio
Function is odd if f(-x) = - f(x)
Antonio
what physical phenomena is resonance?
amrit Reply
is there any resonance in weight?
amrit
Resonance is due to vibrations and waves
Antonio
wait there is a chat here
dare
what is the difference between average velocity and magnitude of displacement
ibrahim
how velocity change with time
ibrahim
average velocity can be zero positive negative but magnitude of displacement is positive
amrit
if there is different displacement in same interval of time
amrit
Displacement can be zero, if you came back
Antonio
Displacement its a [L]
Antonio
Velocity its a vector
Antonio
Speed its the magnitude of velocity
Antonio
[Vt2-Vt1]/[t2-t1] = average velocity,another vector
Antonio
Distance, that and only that can't be negative, and is not a vector
Antonio
Distance its a metrical characteristic of the euclidean space
Antonio
Velocity change in time due a force acting (an acceleration)
Antonio
the change in velocity can be found using conservation of energy if the displacement is known
Jose
BEFORE = AFTER
Jose
kinetic energy + potential energy is equal to the kinetic energy after
Jose
the potential energy can be described as made times displacement times acceleration. I.e the work done on the object
Jose
mass*
Jose
from there make the final velocity the subject and solve
Jose
If its a conservative field
Antonio
So, no frictions in this case
Antonio
right
Jose
and if still conservative but force is in play then simply include work done by friction
Jose
Is not simple, is a very unknown force
Antonio
the vibration of a particle due to vibration of a similar particle close to it.
Aina
No, not so simple
Antonio
Frequency is involved
Antonio
mechanical wave?
Aina
All kind of waves, even in the sea
Antonio
will the LCR circut pure inductive if applied frequency becomes more than the natural frequency of AC circut? if yes , why?
Muskan Reply
LCR pure inductive? Is an nonsense
Antonio
what is photon
Elijah Reply
Photon is the effect of the Maxwell equations, it's the graviton of the electromagnetic field
Antonio
a particle representing a quantum of light or other electromagnetic radiation. A photon carries energy proportional to the radiation frequency but has zero rest mass.
Areej
Quantum it's not exact, its the elementary particle of electromagnetic field. Its not well clear if quantum theory its so, or if it's classical mechanics improved
Antonio
A photon is first and foremost a particle. And hence obeys Newtonian Mechanics. It is what visible light and other electromagnetic waves is made up of.
eli
No a photon has speed of light, and no mass, so is not Newtonian Mechanics
Antonio
photon is both a particle and a wave (It is the property called particle-wave duality). It is nearly massless, and travels at speed c. It interacts with and carries electromagnetic force.
Angelo
Practice Key Terms 4

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 1. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12031/1.5
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