# Calculating Force Constant in a Spring Collision

• PhysicsOPhun
In summary, two blocks, each with a mass of 0.40 kg, are sliding without friction on a horizontal surface. Block 1 is initially moving with a speed of 1.2 m/s while block 2 is at rest. When they collide, the spring bumper on block 1 is compressed and the maximum compression occurs when both blocks are moving at a speed of 0.60 m/s. This is an inelastic collision, meaning some energy is absorbed by the spring. To find the force constant of the spring, you need to calculate the kinetic energy of both blocks before and after the collision. The difference between the two will give you the energy stored in the spring.
PhysicsOPhun
Two blocks, each with a mass 0.40 {\rm kg}, can slide without friction on a horizontal surface. Initially, block 1 is in motion with a speed v = 1.2 {\rm m/s}; block 2 is at rest. When block 1 collides with block 2, a spring bumper on block 1 is compressed. Maximum compression of the spring occurs when the two blocks move with the same speed, v/2 = 0.60 {\rm m/s}.

If the maximum compression of the spring is 1.9 {\rm cm}, what is its force constant?

So, I just posted a question but this one seems just like it. I guess I don't understand what effect each force has on one another and where to begin calculating it. Should I be thinking about the work energy theorm? How would I set this problem up? Thanks in advance to any that can tackle this. This by the way is nothing close to what we have been learning but I guess they are trying to challenge us...and I'm very curious

It's an inelastic collision since the spring absorbs some of the energy.

Block 1 will decelerate and block 2 will accelerate, and meanwhile some energy will be stored in spring. But, one is told that maximum deflection occurs when the speed of both blocks is v/2 (0.6 m/s).

So what is the KE of block 1 before the collision, and what is the KE of both blocks at v/2? What is the significance of the difference?

well the kinetic energy of both blocks moving at the same velocity is exactly half of the kinetic energy of the first block in motion. which means? i have the same problem and I'm still lost. i'll take a guess though. since both the velocity and the kinetic energy of the first block are halved, can i assume that potential energy of the first block is halved as well?

Last edited:
yes i can :D thanks for the help. i hope the original poster gets this

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