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Transformation of KE of Gummy Bear in Inelastic Collision

  1. Feb 25, 2012 #1
    There is a gummy bear stuck to the ceiling where I work. When it hit the ceiling, some of its kinetic energy would be transformed into thermal energy and some into sound. I'm wondering if some is also stored as potential energy in deforming the gummy bear slightly. Also, are there any other energy transformations that account for its final KE being zero?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2012 #2
    New potential energies in bonds formed with the roof are what would account for most of the loss I'd say.
    There is potential energy in the deformation of the gummy bear, just like there's energy when you stretch a spring (or loss if you unstretch it), if you don't have a physics background, I applaud you for thinking about that one since most people who haven't taken a physics course (and even a lot who have) wouldn't think of that.
  4. Feb 28, 2012 #3
    Cool! Thanks! I knew there were things I wasn't thinking of ... the reason I thought of potential energy due to deformation was because of a documentary I watched on the Windscale reactor fire, specifically the part where Wigner energy accumulated in the graphite. Very different materials and situation, I know, but it got me to thinking about how energy involved in a collision might cause deformations in a material that would not occur spontaneously without that energy input.

    I never took physics past high school, but I'm glad I started learning it. It helps keep me sane.
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