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# Inelastic Collision

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Question: Blocks A (mass 2.0 kg) and B (mass 4.0 kg) are moving to-
ward each other. Block A is traveling to the right with velocity 50 m/s, and
block B is traveling to the left with velocity of –18 m/s. They undergo a
completely inelastic collision. What percentage of the original kinetic energy
of the blocks is lost during the collision?

## Solution: Collision of two objects is completely inelastic if they stick to-

gether when they collide.
In order to find the kinetic energy of these two sticked blocks after collision,
we need to know the common velocity of them after collision. Assuming that
the net external force upon the system of these two blocks is zero, we can
apply the conservation law of linear momentum to this system and find the
common velocity of the blocks after collision, i.e.,

## mA~vA + mB ~vB = (mA + mB )~vf (1)

where ~vA and ~vB are velocities of blocks A and B before collision, and ~vf is
their common velocity after collision. So we have,

## 2.0 × 50 − 4.0 × 18 =(2.0 + 4.0) vf

28 =6.0 vf

14
=⇒ vf = ' 4.666 m/s (2)
3
Kinetic energy before collision is given by,
1 1
KEi = mA vA2 + mB vB2 (3)
2 2

1
By inserting the values, we get,
1 1
KEi = × 2.0 × (50)2 + × 4.0 × (−18)2
2 2
KEi =2500 + 648

## KEi = 3148 Joules (4)

And kinetic energy after collision is given by,
1
KEf = (mA + mB )vf2 (5)
2
By inserting the values, we get,
1
KEf = × (2.0 + 4.0) × (4.666)2
2
KEf ' 65.314 Joules (6)
The percentage of the original kinetic energy of the blocks lost during the
collision is the frction of kinetic energy lost times 100, i.e.,
KEi − KEf 3148 − 65.314
× 100 = × 100 ' 97.92% (7)
KEi 3148
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