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B Kinetic energy loss in disintegrated matter

  1. Sep 13, 2018 #1
    What happens to the kinetic energy when an object is disintegrated? Does it survive?

    For example, if I throw a baseball at the sun at 100 mph, I will get X amounts of heat energy released and X amount of light as it burned up before contact. If I threw another baseball 100,000 mph into the sun, do I get the same X amounts of light and heat released, or is it higher relative to us since it was going faster? I thought it was the same energy release.
    If the energy released is the same for both baseballs, where does the kinetic energy go? Is it traveling through space in another form, i.e dark energy or dark matter? I am puzzled on this concept if you scale this scenario up to very large objects in space, which have considerable influence on space/time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2018 #2


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    The "missing" kinetic energy generally ends up as heat, and there is more heat at the end if we started with more kinetic energy at the beginning.
  4. Sep 13, 2018 #3


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    It goes into e.g. kinetic energy of the individual atoms that the baseballs disintegrate into, and the atoms in the sun that those atoms collide with. Dark energy and dark matter are not involved in these processes.
  5. Sep 13, 2018 #4


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    It is, perhaps, instructive to read what Feynman said about energy conservation here.
    The more toy blocks you start with, the more toy blocks you have to look for when all is said and done.
  6. Sep 13, 2018 #5


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    For me, rather than begin by contemplating a baseball, its easier to think about one particle that collides with a different particle emitted by the sun. Its evident that the faster the incoming particle is moving, the more energy will be involved in the collision, and of course all the energy will be conserved in the collision.

    A baseball is a collection of particles; each single particle making up the baseball will be involved in its own series of collisions, each individual collision conserving energy. The disintegration of the baseball involves chemical bonds between atoms being broken, which is part of the total energy involved that must be conserved, but it doesn't fundamentally change anything about conservation of energy.

    Any macro object in the universe as far as I know is a collection of individual particles bound together by some force and those bonds have potential energy which needs to be accounted for if they are broken.
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