Collisions in One Dimension

Collisions in One Dimension - In this way, a collision can...

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Collisions in One Dimension The most simple case of a collision is a one-dimensional, or head-on collision. Because of the conservation of energy and momentum we are able to predict a great deal about these collisions, and to calculate relevant quantities after the collision occurs. Before we do so, however, we must define exactly what is meant by a collision. What is a Collision? We all know, somewhat intuitively, the common meaning of a collision: two things hitting each other. Whether the objects are two billiard balls, two particles, or two cars, this common definition applies. The definition used in physics, however, is something more precise. In physics, a collision has two aspects: 1. Two particles hit each other 2. A large force is felt by each particle for a relatively short amount of time.
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Unformatted text preview: In this way, a collision can be seen as an event that imparts a large amount of impulse to the objects involved. In addtion, recall that impulse changes momentum. A typical collision problem involves two particles with known initial velocities colliding; we are required to calculate the final velocity of each object. If we knew the forces acting during the collision this would be easy. Usually, however, we do not, and are forced to look for other methods of solving the problem. For instance, two balls of the same masses and initial velocities upon hitting a wall bounce back with different velocities according to the "bounciness" or elasticity of the ball. We will examine the cases in which collision problems are soluble, and make some general statements about collisions....
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