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# Difference Between Inelastic and Elastic Collisions

Inelastic vs Elastic Collisions

Collisions come in two main types ‘“ elastic and inelastic collisions. An elastic collision is a collision where the colliding objects bounce back without undergoing any deformation or heat generation. An inelastic collision is a collision where the colliding objects are distorted and heat is generated.

In an elastic collision, the momentum and total kinetic energy before and after the collision is the same. In other words, it can be said that the total kinetic energy and momentum are conserved during the elastic collision. So there is no wasting of energy in an elastic collision. An example of an elastic collision is the movement of the swinging balls.

In an inelastic collision, the energy changes into other energies such as sound energy or thermal energy. In an inelastic collision, the energy is not conserved. An example of an inelastic collision is an automobile collision.

Some of the characteristics of elastic collisions are as follows: kinetic energy is conserved, linear momentum is conserved, and total energy is conserved. The forces during an elastic collision are conservative, and the mechanical energy is not transformed into some other form of energy such as sound energy or thermal energy.

Some of the characteristics of inelastic collisions are as follows: kinetic energy is not conserved, linear momentum is conserved, and total energy is conserved. The forces during inelastic collisions are non-conservative, and the mechanical energy is transformed into some other form of energy such as sound energy or thermal energy.

Recommend a re-write. Article’s summary is missing.

In very simple words, the main difference noticeable from a common man’s view between inelastic and elastic collisions is in the transformation of kinetic energy.

Summary

1. Elastic collision is a collision where the colliding objects bounce back without undergoing any deformation or heat generation. Inelastic collision is a collision where the colliding objects are distorted and heat is generated.
2. In elastic collision, the momentum and total kinetic energy before and after collision is the same.
3. In inelastic collision, the energy changes into other energies such as sound energy or thermal energy.
4. The forces during elastic collision are conservative and the mechanical energy is not transformed into some other form of energy such as sound energy or thermal energy.
5. The Forces during inelastic collision are non-conservative and mechanical energy is transformed into some other form of energy such as sound energy or thermal energy.
6. An example of elastic collision is the movement of the swinging balls. An example of inelastic collision is an automobile collision.

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### 4 Comments

1. Thanks so much for the well explained content. searched this for a while. most books don’t explain this clear about the difference between the two types of collision.
thanks again.

2. law of conservation of momentum is only applicable in isolated system but why it is conserved in inelastic collision??collision of automobiles etc

• Cause in inelastic collision total linear momentum is same before & after collision if you satisfied then kk

3. This was good and helpful.

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