3-3-2-2 Elastic Collisions

If ONE BALL rams into the stack, why must ONE BALL come out the other end at the same speed? Why can’t TWO BALLS come out at HALF the speed, for example? (This outcome also conserves the total momentum!) And how about all FIVE BALLS swinging away at 1/5 the speed?

True enough. There are infinite number of outcomes that fulfil the Principle of Conservation of Momentum! However, since these collisions are elastic, the total kinetic energy should be unchanged after the collision as well. With this additional constraint, there is only one possible outcome. The same number of balls always come out the other end at the same end, conserving both total momentum and keeping total kinetic energy unchanged.

Let’s now bring Newton and PSY together for an xmphysics-style pendulum.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s