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Elastic and inelastic collisions

  1. Feb 12, 2016 #1


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    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    In a closed system, in an inelastic collision, momentum and total energy is conserved, but total kinetic energy is not.
    But how is this possible? If we have a change in total kinetic energy, we have a change in velocity, and so we must have a change in momentum as:
    So I am really confused!
    Thanks :)

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2016 #2


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    Keep in mind that kinetic energy is a scalar quantity and momentum is a vector quantity.

    Think about the example of two equal masses moving toward each other with equal speeds and the two masses stick together and come to rest after they collide.
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