Can someone explain elastic vs inelastic collision?
We've all seen the definition everywhere. Elastic collision is when kinetic energy is conserved and inelastic is when kinetic energy is not conserved. But what does this really mean?
I have done the lab in physics class with the two pucks on the air table. The first test was colliding the two pucks on different angles (elastic) and the other test was colliding the two pucks but with the addition of a velcro so they stick and become one (inelastic).
What is the 2nd test inelastic? How is kinetic energy lost compared to the first test? If someone could explain this I'd greatly appreciate it as I would learn alot.
- PearlsawmeLv 710 years agoFavorite Answer
They really mean that Elastic collision is when kinetic energy is conserved and inelastic is when kinetic energy is not conserved.
In real life there is no elastic collision at all.
Even the first test was inelastic , there is loss of energy due to friction which one cannot avoid.
But when the friction is small we ignore the loss due to friction and consider the collision as elastic.
In the second case since the two bodies do some work in making them stick together energy is lost and hence it is called inelastic.
- SteveLv 710 years ago
The energy in the second case is released as heat in the velcro tape.
Don't know what the pucks were made of, but most real materials are incapable of a truly elastic collision.
Glass would probably be closest, with maybe a 1% energy loss
Elastic or otherwise, momentum IS conserved in all collisions.Source(s): Collision nerd
- ?Lv 44 years ago
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