Confusion about nature of collision

In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of collisions and their outcomes. The speaker is confused about how momentum and velocity are conserved in different types of collisions, such as deformable and undeformable objects. They also question the predictability of the magnitude of impulse and the force applied during collisions. The expert provides clarification on the role of deformation in collisions and the importance of understanding the characteristics of the objects involved.
  • #1
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I have a problem with understanding the nature of collisions and their outcomes.
From my understanding, I come to think that when a mass collides with another, both of them should always have equal velocities post-collision. For example, when a mass moving at v1, m1, collides with a mass at rest, m2, their velocity after collision should always be m1v1 / m1 + m2. My justification for this is that once they reach that said velocity, they are not colliding anymore, they are moving along together, they have zero kinetic energy, relative to each other. I don't understand how is it that there are cases in which one mass loses it momentum completely to the other mass and other cases in which m1 may even rebound: how can any change in momentum still occur after they have equal velocities?

I also have problems understanding what governs the magnitude of impulse at collision: is it possible to predict the magnitude of the force and the duration of which the applied force will last? It seems, from all the problems on impulse that I have seen, it's impossible because the problems always have to give some information about the momentum pre and post collision, never only pre collision.

What am I failing to understand?
 
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  • #2
Inspiron said:
My justification for this is that once they reach that said velocity, they are not colliding anymore
They can be deformed at that point, e.g. compressed in the direction of the collision. They "want" to retain their original shape again, which does not work without moving away from each other - there is still a force between them.
Inspiron said:
I also have problems understanding what governs the magnitude of impulse at collision: is it possible to predict the magnitude of the force and the duration of which the applied force will last?
Only if you know details about the deformation of the objects.
 
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  • #3
I don't clearly understand.

So if two undeformable objects collides with another, will both of them always have equal velocities, as I said? And is there such thing as an undefromable object in the real world?

If two deformable objects collide, do they deform like springs, where kinetic energy is converted fully into potential energy and then into kinetic energy?

What are the details about the deformation should I know, and how is it used?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • #4
Inspiron said:
And is there such thing as an undefromable object in the real world?
No.
 
  • #5
Remember that it's momentum that's conserved in inelastic collisions, not velocity.

The results of any collision between two objects will depend on the characteristics of the two objects. For example, if you stage a collision between a bowling ball and a small lump of sticky clay the two may stick together and have exactly the same velocity post-collision, but decidedly different momenta. Modern automobiles, for example, are designed to collapse so as to absorb energy and reduce momentum on both cars. It's not a simple issue.
 

What is a collision in terms of science?

A collision in science is when two objects or particles come into contact with each other and exchange energy or momentum. This can result in a change in the motion or properties of the objects involved.

What causes a collision to occur?

A collision can occur due to various reasons such as the movement of objects in the same direction, the force of gravity, or an external force applied to one or both objects. In scientific terms, collisions are caused by the interaction of forces between objects.

What is the conservation of momentum and how does it relate to collisions?

The conservation of momentum is a fundamental principle in physics that states that the total momentum of a system remains constant before and after a collision. This means that the total momentum of the objects involved in a collision will be the same before and after the collision, even though the individual momentums may change.

What is the difference between an elastic and inelastic collision?

An elastic collision is a type of collision where the total kinetic energy of the system is conserved, meaning that no energy is lost during the collision. In contrast, an inelastic collision is a type of collision where some kinetic energy is lost, usually in the form of heat, sound, or deformation of the objects involved.

How do scientists study collisions?

Scientists study collisions using various tools and techniques such as high-speed cameras, computer simulations, and mathematical equations. They also conduct experiments to observe and measure the outcomes of different types of collisions and use this data to develop theories and models to understand and predict the behavior of collisions.

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