# Predicting types of collisions

• B
• crudux_cruo
In summary, predicting the type of collision, such as elastic vs inelastic, generally requires knowledge of the coefficient of restitution, which describes the degree of energy loss in a collision. This information is often measured rather than determined from first principles.

#### crudux_cruo

I've been working through Chapter 9 of Fundamentals of Physics (Center of Mass and Linear Momentum) and while I think I generally understand the different types of collisions, I notice that all of the problems state (or heavily imply) the type of collision after it has happened.

Does predicting the type of collision generally require knowing more advanced topics like material science, or am I missing something fundamental from the textbook?

Welcome to PF.

What do you mean by "type of collision"? Elastic vs inelastic, or something else?

crudux_cruo
Ibix said:
Welcome to PF.

What do you mean by "type of collision"? Elastic vs inelastic, or something else?

Thanks!

And yes, elastic vs inelastic. From what I understand all real life collisions are some degree of inelastic, with elastic collisions being useful mainly as an approximation.

Assuming I understand that correctly, I wanted to know what physically determined that 'degree of inelasticity'. I apologize if I am using improper or imprecise language here.

Yes, all realistic collisions involve some energy loss. I think you are correct that predicting the degree of energy loss from first principles is a hard problem. The number describing the degree of elasticity is the coefficient of restitution, which you can look up if you want. As far as I'm aware you usually just measure it for any given collision.

I appreciate the succinct response. I'm amazed I couldn't find it with a simple google search, but after doing some reading on COR the things are a fair bit more intuitive. I'm sure I'll confuse myself with it in a day or two though.

Ibix
Glad to help - sometimes it's just knowing the term to look for.

crudux_cruo

## 1. What is the purpose of predicting types of collisions?

The purpose of predicting types of collisions is to proactively identify potential hazards and take preventative measures to minimize the occurrence of collisions. By understanding the different types of collisions that can occur, scientists can develop strategies to reduce the risk of accidents and improve safety measures.

## 2. What factors are involved in predicting types of collisions?

Factors that are involved in predicting types of collisions include the velocity and direction of moving objects, the mass and size of the objects, the type of surface they are traveling on, and any external forces or obstacles that may affect their movement.

## 3. How do scientists gather data for predicting types of collisions?

Scientists gather data for predicting types of collisions through a variety of methods, including conducting experiments, using mathematical models and simulations, and analyzing real-world collision data from past incidents. They also gather data from previous studies and research in related fields, such as physics and engineering.

## 4. What are some common types of collisions that scientists predict?

Some common types of collisions that scientists predict include vehicle collisions on roads, collisions between particles in subatomic experiments, and collisions between celestial bodies in space. Other types of collisions may also include sports injuries, collisions in industrial settings, and collisions between animals and humans.

## 5. How can predicting types of collisions benefit society?

Predicting types of collisions can benefit society in many ways. By understanding the potential hazards and risks associated with different types of collisions, scientists can develop safety measures and technologies to minimize the occurrence of accidents and protect human lives. This can also lead to improved transportation systems, safer working environments, and a better understanding of the laws of physics and the universe.