1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Simple 2D collision formula developments

  1. Apr 9, 2009 #1
    Hi everybody,
    I am currently working on a small computer programming project, and was wondering if you could give me hand.

    Say I have two simple, identical balls moving in different speeds and angles towards each other. They hit each other elastically, and weigh exactly the same.
    The location of their centers is also a given (see diagram for further explanation).

    http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/1108/question.png [Broken]

    All the data is according to the diagram (which is completely general).
    Can I tell through some sort of formula developments what their new speeds (size+angle) will be, after they collide? (As in U1=?, U2=?, newA1=?, newA2=?)

    I tried figuring it out myself but got mixed-up and lost. Hopefully you might be able to help me :-)

    Thanks a lot,

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 9, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Oh sure. I actually had to do this myself for a computer game we made for a class project. I don't know the equations but you can get a simple closed form expression for it. I'm sure if you do enough searching on the web or through textbooks you will find out what it is. Of course in the end you could always derive it.
  4. Apr 9, 2009 #3
    Yeah, I figured it was rather simple, but I can't seem to find anything of that sort anywhere.
    A closed form expression would be fantastic, but I am having a hard time deriving it myself. Thus, I turned to you guys for assistance :)
    So, can any of you give me a hand?
  5. Apr 9, 2009 #4
    Transform to the center of mass frame in which the total momentum is zero. Forget about the angles and velocities in the original frame for the moment. Just work out the most general case of a collision as seen in the center of mass frame (which is very simple).

    Then transform this to a frame in which the initial velocities are arbitrary. You need to do a little algebra to find the angles in that other frame.
  6. Apr 9, 2009 #5
    Sorry, I sort of lost you. I am yet to have studied momentum, and I tried to understand momentum from guides I have read.
    Could you just give me a finished formula? I do not necessarily need to thoroughly understand the way...
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Simple 2D collision formula developments
  1. 2D Collisions (Replies: 1)

  2. 2D Collisions (Replies: 4)

  3. 2D Collisions (Replies: 1)