Conservation of momentum/kinetic energy in inelastic collisions.
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Dec19-12, 01:40 PM
If we look at the momentum of the system before and after the collision, P=mV, they are equal, due to CoM. Assuming a constant mass we can also say that the velocity of the system is constant.
The velocity of the system's
center of mass
Now looking at kinetic energy, E=(1/2)mv^2 we know that it changes. Again assuming a constant mass we can say that v^2 changes and thus v changes. Obviously these two statements contradict each other, but I don't understand where I went wrong.
The total kinetic energy of the system = Ʃ(1/2)mv^2 for each mass element. v is not the velocity of the center of mass.