Collisions: Subatomic vs Non-Subatomic Particles

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In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of mass loss and energy transformation in collisions between subatomic particles and non-subatomic particles. While subatomic particles result in a decrease in mass and an increase in energy, this is not observed in macroscopic collisions due to the predominant forms of energy loss being heat and sound. However, there may be a slight decrease in mass if a chemical or atomic reaction occurs. The participants also mention the weight difference between 2xH2O and 2xH2 + O2 as an example of mass loss.
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student85
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This might be stupid but I was thinking, when two subatomic particles collide at very high speeds, they form a bigger particle whose mass is less than the sum of the smaller ones, and the mass lost transforms into energy as in Einstein´s equation E=mc2.
What happens with non subatomic particles, say two balls colliding or whatever. Is there a mass loss that turns into energy. THIS SOUNDS VERY OFF LOL, because the amount of energy released with just a little bit of mass is huge. But then, what is wrong here? Why doesn't this happen, or if it does, why isn't it percieved?
 
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  • #2
There isn't a mass loss, unless you count something like little pieces chipping off. The energy lost through macroscopic collisions is primarily in the forms of heat and sound. You would get mass loss only if the materials were such that a chemical or atomic reaction occurred when they hit.
 
  • #3
There should be a mass loss. The approaching balls are heavier than they would be if they were at rest (KE=(m-m0)c2), and after the collision (assuming some energy is lost to sound etc) there will be slightly less total kinetic energy (because some of the mass-energy has been transferred into air-vibrations, perhaps some even radiated away as a flash of light, etc).

Similarly, 2xH2O should not weigh the same as 2xH2 + O2.
 
  • #4
Thanks danger and cesiumfrog, you really helped me!
 

Related to Collisions: Subatomic vs Non-Subatomic Particles

1. What is the difference between subatomic and non-subatomic particles?

Subatomic particles are particles that make up atoms, such as protons, neutrons, and electrons. Non-subatomic particles, on the other hand, are particles that are not a part of an atom, such as photons, neutrinos, and quarks.

2. How do subatomic and non-subatomic particles interact with each other?

Subatomic particles interact with each other through various forces, such as the strong nuclear force, electromagnetic force, and weak nuclear force. Non-subatomic particles, on the other hand, interact through different mechanisms, such as gravity and the weak nuclear force.

3. What are the properties of subatomic and non-subatomic particles?

Subatomic particles have properties such as mass, charge, and spin. Non-subatomic particles have similar properties, but they may also have additional properties, such as flavor and color charge.

4. How are subatomic and non-subatomic collisions studied?

Scientists use various techniques, such as particle accelerators, to study subatomic and non-subatomic collisions. These techniques allow them to observe the particles and their interactions in detail.

5. What are the practical applications of studying subatomic and non-subatomic collisions?

Studying subatomic and non-subatomic collisions can help us understand the fundamental building blocks of our universe and how they interact. This knowledge can have practical applications, such as in the development of new technologies and in the field of medicine, where particle beams are used for cancer treatment.

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