# Collision of a billiard ball against a wall

The collision of a billiard ball against a wall is considered elastic. Intuitively i can accept it. But analytically i dont understand it.

Why does the wall not take any relevant amount of energy from the ball? Is it connected to the change in temperature of the wall ?
What scenarios can we aproximate as elastic ? Under what characteristics ?

lekh2003
Gold Member
The wall definitely feels the momentum of the ball. The wall is just very firm. It isn't going to move. Most of the energy just gets transferred into sound, not as much in heat.

The wall definitely feels the momentum of the ball. The wall is just very firm. It isn't going to move. Most of the energy just gets transferred into sound, not as much in heat.

So the only fact that allows us to consider the collision as elastic, is that the energy dissipated by the wall is very low ?

A.T.
So the only fact that allows us to consider the collision as elastic, is that the energy dissipated by the wall is very low ?
That is the definition of elastic collision.

themagiciant95
lekh2003
Gold Member
So the only fact that allows us to consider the collision as elastic, is that the energy dissipated by the wall is very low ?
A.T. is correct, an elastic collision is defined as a collision where the energy is transferred to other methods of energy transfer besides collisions.

A.T.
A.T. is correct, an elastic collision is defined as a collision where the energy is transferred to other methods of energy transfer besides collisions.
Nice that we agree, but I don't understand your definition at all. Why not keep it simple:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elastic_collision

"An elastic collision is an encounter between two bodies in which the total kinetic energy of the two bodies after the encounter is equal to their total kinetic energy before the encounter."

lekh2003
Gold Member
Nice that we agree, but I don't understand your definition at all. Why not keep it simple:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elastic_collision

"An elastic collision is an encounter between two bodies in which the total kinetic energy of the two bodies after the encounter is equal to their total kinetic energy before the encounter."
Sure, I might be going on a tangent. But yes, the total energy is conserved, even if that requires energy going into sound.

A.T.