Answer to Question #128710 in Mechanics | Relativity for Ariyo Emmanuel

Question #128710
Differentiate between elastic and plastic impact
Expert's answer

Explanation & Answer

If the impact is elastic,

  • If the kinetic energy is conserved throughout the impact it's called elastic.
  • Kinetic energy is not lost in any means.
  • Examples— impact between ideal gas molecules, etc
  • In reality hardly any impact is elastic.

If the impact is plastic,

  • Kinetic energy is not conserved; energy losses are due to mutual friction, heat, sound etc.
  • Examples—All most all the impacts in reality, clay ball hitting a wall may be considered as fully plastic.

For both the situations, the law of total energy conservation applies & if there are no any external forces acting on the objects in impact, the law of conservation of linear momentum applies.

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