Forces and Motion

Momentum - What is an Elastic Collision?

What is the Difference
between an Elastic and an Inelastic Collision?

When two objects collide they can either
bounce off each other (called an elastic collision)
or stick together (called an inelastic collision).

In a collision between two objects that is
either elastic or inelastic, we can predict from
the law of conservation of momentum that
the total momentum of the objects before the collision
is the same as
the total momentum of the objects after the collision.

With an elastic collision the total kinetic energy is
the same before and after the collision but with
an inelastic collision the total kinetic energy decreases.

An elastic collision happens between
snooker (or pool or billiard) balls.
Elastic collisions also happen between gas particles.

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