Physics 101- Introduction to Mechanics
|April 12- Collisions|
inelastic,... perfectly inelastic
If mechanical energy is conserved then we call the collision elastic. Here we will see the objects bounce apart such that their relative speeds are the same before and after the collision.
If the two objects stick together, then we call this a perfectly inelastic collision.
Inelastic collisions are ones where some energy is lost, but the two objects don't stick together. Elastic and perfectly inelastic collisions are useful models, but most collisions are somewhere in between these two extremes.
We can measure their "elasticity" by a ratio of the objects' relative speeds before and after the collision:
This is known as the coefficient of restitution.
For elastic collisions e=1 and for perfectly inelastic collisions e=0.
Keep in mind that these names don't represent any
new physics, they're simply ways of classifying types of collisions.
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