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Kinetic Energy regarding Collision

  1. Jul 17, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    In an elastic collision of 2 objects, Kinetic energy is conserved. In an inelastic collision it is not. Where does the kinetic energy "go" in an inelastic collision ?

    2. Relevant equations

    None

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Ok i am not sure of the answer but is it supposed to be that the object with a higher velocity / mass transfers or merges its kinetic energy with the kinetic energy of the one that is lower thereby reducing it to zero....

    Please help !!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2007 #2

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    Not sure what that means....

    Instead, think of what other form of energy that the translational KE might be transformed into by the collision.
     
  4. Jul 17, 2007 #3
    Collision occurs when 2 objects move towards each other with some force so....

    What i was trying to say is the " K.E in case of inelastic collision is lost by means of transfer from a high K.E object to a low K.E object thereby making the low K.E object move in the same direction as that of the high K.E object or in some cases even canceled, zeroed out, in cases where both objects have their K.E equal
     
  5. Jul 17, 2007 #4

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    Kinetic energy is not a vector--so it doesn't "cancel out" like momentum might. Instead, it must be transformed into a different sort of energy.

    Hint: Smash a lump of clay against a wall. (An example of an inelastic collision.) What happens to the clay? (If you're not sure, imagine doing it one hundred times.) What about it changes?
     
  6. Jul 17, 2007 #5
    I think the linear momentum is conserved in an elastic or inelastic collision, Linear momentum and angular momentum, are conserved quanities like energy is. Not sure if linear momentum conservation is the same thing as angular momentum conservation as my Physics Book by Halliday and Resnick avoids the subject.
     
  7. Jul 17, 2007 #6
    Well according to your hint and from what i have learned the clay changes its shape and the energy is lost in the form of heat ad sound....
     
  8. Jul 17, 2007 #7

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    Now you've got it.
     
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