Inelastic Collision Calculation

Most collisions between objects involve the loss of some kinetic energy and are said to be inelastic. In the general case, the final velocities are not determinable from just the initial velocities. If you know the velocity of one object after the collision, you can determine the other (see inelastic head-on collisions). The extreme inelastic collision is one in which the colliding objects stick together after the collision, and this case may be analyzed in general terms.

Initial data

m1 = kg

m2 = kg

v1 = m/s

Momentum = kg m/s

Kinetic energy = J

Calculated final values

v2 = m/s

Momentum = kg m/s

Kinetic energy = J

Amount of kinetic energy lost in the collision = J.
Ratio of kinetic energies before and after the collision:
Fraction of kinetic energy lost in the collision:

Examine the case where the masses do not stick together.

Discussion of inelastic collisions

Derivation of kinetic energy loss expressions

Examples of inelastic collisions


Collision concepts
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