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Predict Whether Collision will be Elastic or Inelastic

  1. Mar 12, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A mass sits on the end of a spring and is at equilibrium.
    Code (Text):

    |         ,---.                   ___/'''\_
    |/\/\/\/\/|_m_|________________()' o_____o '_________________
    A car is costing gracefully towards the mass. The car has a semi-rigid rubber tire mounted on its front. The mass of the mass and mass of the car are approximately equal mass. When the car collides with the mass will the collision be elastic or inelastic?

    2. Relevant equations
    There are basic equations for collision problems. In elastic collisions

    m1*v1_i + m2*v2_i = m1*v1_final + m2*v2_final

    In inelastic collisions

    m1*v1_i + m2*v2_i = (m1+m2)*v_f

    In both types of problems kinetic energy in conserved and

    m1*v1_i^2 + m2*v2_i^2 = m1*v1_final^2 + m2*v2_final^2

    3. The attempt at a solution
    The problem is to determine what type of collision is at hand. As far as attempting a solution, I can't really go any farther than this.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2007 #2
    The collision cant be elastic as due to the spring force, linear momentum along the x axis is not conserved and thats a condition for elastic collisions.
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