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Homework Help: Energy loss during collisions.

  1. Mar 11, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I was asked to compare the energy loss of a system of two boxes moving towards each other, colliding elastically and in-elastically in two different situations that are not influenced by friction. There are no springs attached to either mass

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I believe the magnitude of the energy lost in the inelastic collision is more than that of the energy lost in an elastic collision undergoing no net external force, is energy loss due to internal forces in these situations? I believe there is no change in kinetic energy or momentum in an elastic collision while there is a change in the kinetic energy of the system in an inelastic collision but no change in momentum in this case. How is energy lost if there is no deformation of the material? No heat generated by the collision? Could sound really give off all that energy? I'm not sure, thank you for your time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2014 #2


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    Why do you think there is no deformation, or no heat generated? Unless you have a reason why that is true, the question is hypothetical.

    It's unlikely that much kinetic energy will be dissipated as sound. It's much more likely that most of it is converted into heat.
  4. Mar 11, 2014 #3
    They never say in the problem that it occurs, so I am left to assume it doesn't. It says they "latch" together. I keep thinking of a link like train cars have is the latch they speak of. Common sense may dictate that this is not the case. Maybe I left a little of that out in my thought process. :redface:
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