Interaction between two or more bodies that results in physical contact and an exchange of momentum between the bodies involved.

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120
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3answers
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Why doesn't matter pass through other matter if atoms are 99.999% empty space?

The ghostly passage of one body through another is obviously out of the question if the continuum assumption were valid, but we know that at the micro, nano, pico levels (and beyond) this is not even ...
51
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4answers
13k views

Can a tomato pierce a hole in a steel plate if only the tomato is travelling fast enough?

A tomato is travelling very fast towards a 1 cm thick steel plate. Let's say this happened in a vacuum, so that the air resistance wouldn't rip the tomato apart before it even hit the steel plate. ...
31
votes
4answers
7k views

What would happen if an accelerated particle collided with a person?

What would happen if an accelerated particle (like they create in the LHC) hit a person standing in its path? Would the person die? Would the particle rip a hole? Would the particle leave such a tiny ...
28
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5answers
2k views

Is a proton collision (collisions like in the LHC) visible to the human eye?

I was curious if a proton collision is visible to the human eye. (This might sound like a really basic question and forgive me if it is. I am very inexperienced in Physics and just wanted an answer ...
25
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4answers
5k views

What would put a harddisk drive (HDD) under 350G's of force?

I always see the label and it says 350G's withstandable. What would put this over 350G's? Is it even possible to hit 350Gs of force to a hard drive?
25
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6answers
16k views

Newton's cradle

Why, when one releases 2 balls in Newton's cradle, two balls on the opposite side bounce out at approximately the same speed as the 1st pair, rather than one ball at higher speed, or 3 balls at lower ...
20
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6answers
60k views

Is two cars colliding at 50mph the same as one car colliding into a wall at 100 mph?

I was watching a youtube video the other day where an economist said that he challenged his physics professor on this question back when he was in school. His professor said each scenario is the same, ...
18
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8answers
10k views

Would it help if you jump inside a free falling elevator?

Imagine you're trapped inside a free falling elevator. Would you decrease your impact impulse by jumping during the fall? When?
18
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3answers
1k views

Can two spaceships go fast enough to pass straight through each other?

Probability of interaction between two particles tends to wane with increasing energy. Technically, the cross section of most interactions falls off with increasing velocity. $$\sigma(v) \propto \...
15
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6answers
3k views

What would happen if Large Hadron Collider would collide electrons?

After some reading about the Large Hadron Collider and it's very impressive instruments to detect and investigate the collision results, there is a remaining question. What would happen if the ...
15
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4answers
1k views

Can black holes actually merge?

If time stops at the event horizon, can we ever detect two black holes merging? In other words, if you are a short distance away, would you encounter a spherically symmetric gravitational field, or a ...
15
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3answers
3k views

What happens in a car crash?

My mom and I were in a car accident. We are ok, but I want to know how fast the car that hit us was going. We were stopped at a light. The car that hit us from behind was a big GMC SUV. Our car was a ...
15
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2answers
481 views

Deriving equation for skipping stones over water

Why can rocks skip over water (stone skipping)? For instance, if you conduct an experiment where you drop both rocks from the same height, but give one considerable acceleration in the $x$-direction, ...
14
votes
3answers
560 views

Why do we hear a higher pitched sound outside the water when we smash two stones in water?

The observer is outside the water; the stones are in water (say, 1 m below the surface). This produces a higher-pitched sound for the observer than if both the observer and the stones are in air. Is ...
13
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11answers
53k views

How can momentum but not energy be conserved in an inelastic collision?

In inelastic collisions, kinetic energy changes, so the velocities of the objects also change. So how is momentum conserved in inelastic collisions?
13
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1answer
978 views

Mars just collided with Earth! A question of eccentricity

One of the standard theories behind the formation of our Moon is the giant impact hypothesis, according to which Earth was struck by a Mars-sized body (about $10\%$ the mass of Earth) early in its ...
12
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2answers
2k views

In an electron-positron annihilation, in what direction are the photons released?

I read that, in an electron-positron annihilation, at least 2 photons are produced, because of the law of conservation of momentum. my question is: in what direction are those photons released? and ...
12
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3answers
9k views

What happens in electron-electron collisions?

What are the results of high energy electron electron collisions? Are other particles created?
11
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5answers
4k views

How does Newton's third law apply to an object interacting with air?

We all know that if I punch the wall with $100\,\mathrm{N}$ force, the wall pushes me back with with $100\,\mathrm{N}$ and I get hurt. But if I punch air with $100\,\mathrm{N}$, does air punches me ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Can a pool ball change direction mid-roll?

In this youtube video, a pool shark consistently gets the cue ball to drastically change direction mid-roll (i.e. while after he's hit it). Is this theoretically possible without using trick balls? If ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Why collide a moving particle with a particle at rest, rather than two moving particles?

I was just reading some lecture notes about relativistic and quantum mechanics, and in the later part of this page the author demonstrates that any relativistic particle collision in the "lab" ...
11
votes
10answers
3k views

How to explain independence of momentum and energy conservation in elementary terms?

I'm trying to explain to someone learning elementary physics (16 year old) that linear momentum and energy are conserved independently. I'm not a professional physicist and haven't tried to explain ...
11
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1answer
594 views

What would the collision between a (large) solid planet and a gas giant be like?

Assuming a Jupiter-like planet and an Earth-like planet (Except, say... half the mass of Jupiter), what would happen when the two collide? For clarification: What would the actual collision be like? ...
10
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7answers
3k views

Ball flying towards me or me flying towards ball

Suppose a ball is flying towards me at a speed of 10m/s and that, on impact, I feel "x" amount of pain. If, instead, it was me flying towards the ball at the same speed, with all other conditions ...
10
votes
4answers
909 views

Collision of Phobos

Mars has two moons: Phobos and Deimos. Both are irregular and are believed to have been captured from the nearby asteroid belt. Phobos always shows the same face to Mars because of tidal forces ...
10
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2answers
214 views

Converting impact speed to pressure magnitude

In explosive safety and stability testing, a drop test is commonly used to determine the sensitivity to impact. In the test, an impactor of known mass is dropped. The initial height varies throughout ...
9
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5answers
8k views

The Time That 2 Masses Will Collide Due To Newtonian Gravity [closed]

My friend and I have been wracking our heads with this one for the past 3 hours... We have 2 point masses, $m$ and $M$ in a perfect world separated by radius r. Starting from rest, they both begin to ...
9
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4answers
717 views

Formalism to deal with discontinuous potentials in classical mechanics (hard wall, hard spheres)

It seems to me that Hamiltonian formalism does not suit well for problems involving instantaneous change of momentum, like particle collisions with hard wall or hard sphere gas model. At least I could ...
8
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3answers
2k views

What determines whether a pool ball will bouce backwards after colliding with another pool ball?

I'm no knowledgeable pool player, but I've noticed that sometimes when the cue ball hits another pool ball, they roll together; and sometimes the cue ball bounces back. And I have a very, very rough ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Elastic collision of point particle and rod

A 1 meter long rod on the ice with mass $m_2=1$ kg is perpendicularly hit on one end by a point particle with mass $m_1=0.1$ kg. The collision is elastic and the point particle is bounced back in the ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Number of planks required to stop the bullet [closed]

A bullet looses (1/n)th of its velocity passing through one plank. The number of such planks that are required to stop the bullet can be? Logically, to me the answer seems to be infinity, as always a ...
8
votes
2answers
533 views

How do collisions of fundamental particles produce different fundamental particles?

When considering fundamental particles as waves in fields, it seems like any collision of two particles of some fundamental type could only create energy within that type's field. Why do we expect ...
8
votes
2answers
451 views

How multiple objects in contact are resolved in an inelastic collision, when edge normals don't “line up”

In a case I understand, let's say I have an object A moving at velocity V toward 3 objects in contact B, C, and D: The momentum of A is the mass of A times its velocity. To figure out how the ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Why don't protons just bounce off each other in the LHC?

Ok, this might sound like a silly question, but I was wondering, when particles (e.g. protons) are smashed together in the LHC, why do they break up into dozens of other particles, as opposed to just ...
7
votes
3answers
617 views

Aren't all collisions elastic at some level?

The more I think about it, inelastic collisions produce heat and sound which imply motion at some scale, right? Are inelastic collisions macroscopic events that ignore motion at microscopic levels? ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Anti-Matter for Neutrons

The anti-particle corresponding to a proton or an electron is a particle with an equal mass, but an opposite charge. So what is the anti-particle corresponding to a neutron (which does not possess a ...
7
votes
6answers
841 views

Hit by two cars with same momentum but different mass. Which is more painful?

Suppose they have the same contact area with you. The term "painful" is a bit ambiguous. Let me ask in another way: Two cars with same momentum but different masses are going to hit a wall. You ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Physics of simple collisions

I'm building a physics simulator for a graphics course, and so far I have it implementing gravitational and Coulomb forces. I want to add collisions next, but I'm not exactly sure how to go about ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Can a bullet shot through a glass make a clean hole?

One can often see (hopefully only in the movies) that a bullet shot through a pane of window glass leaves a hole in it, but overall the glass is left largely intact. However, a low-speed projectile, e....
6
votes
5answers
968 views

What happens when two photons collide with one another, head on, dead center? [duplicate]

If two photons were to collide directly, head on, and are of the same energy, what happens? Are new particles created, is energy released? Or do they just pass through one another?
6
votes
2answers
287 views

Is it possible to determine the outcome of any impact knowing only the ratio of masses? [duplicate]

In elastic collisions in 2-D if two balls $A$, $B$ ($m_A = m_B$, $R = 1$) have equal mass we can determine in advance the outcome of the collision. If cue-ball $A$ impacts object-ball $B$ (at rest) ...
6
votes
4answers
839 views

In which direction does a wall exert the reaction force if it is hit diagonally?

I am confused about action-reaction forces and inertia of moving objects. As an example, take a cricket ball a bowler throws to the pitch: Suppose the ball is about to drop in the pitch with ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a 2D generalization of the coefficient of restitution?

The coefficient of restitution characterizes a collision in one dimension by relating the initial and final speeds of the particles involved, $$C_R = -\frac{v_{2f} - v_{1f}}{v_{2i} - v_{1i}}$$ In a ...
6
votes
1answer
210 views

How do I describe and calculate the effect of an impacting object?

My lab studies the physiology of impact injury on biological tissues. I use a pneumatic cylinder to impart injury into a biological sample and then assess the molecular and physiological changes in ...
5
votes
8answers
1k views

Physics Paradox about Newtons Second Law $F=ma$

If force equals mass times acceleration, wouldn't a basketball dropped from the top of the Eiffel tower exert the same force on the ground as a basketball dropped a foot off the ground? They both have ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

The momentum of a swinging sword

Suppose you are faced with a zombie, and the only way to kill it and save yourself is to chop its head off with your sword. However, you are very weak from illness, and can only afford to strike once. ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

How to tell if the collision is elastic or inelastic?

I'm a programmer and a game developer, not a mathematician or a physicist. So please go easy on the math :) I know two things: How to find the new velocities of two objects after an elastic ...
5
votes
1answer
960 views

Advantages of high-energy heavy-ion collisions over proton-proton collisions?

Some high-energy experiments (RHIC, LHC) use ion-ion collisions instead of proton-proton collisions. Although the total center-of-mass energy is indeed higher than p-p collisions, it might happen that ...
5
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3answers
19k views

Why is momentum conserved in an inelastic collision and kinetic energy is not conserved? [duplicate]

We know that in an inelastic collision that total momentum of the system before collision equals the total momentum after collision. But total kinetic energy before collision is not equal to total ...
5
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1answer
487 views

How and why will the Milky way collide with the Andromeda?

Hubble's law says that the universe is expanding.How come the milky way and the andromeda are on a collision course?How will they end up colliding with each other?