Can anyone tell me why

  1. elastic collision occur between atomic particles?
  2. inelastic collision occur between ordinary objects?
  3. perfectly inelastic collision occur during shooting?
  4. super elastic collision occur during explosion?

What is the reason for such a difference?


This follows on from my answer to your previous question: Factors on which Coefficient of restitution depend. The coefficient of restitution of a collision depends on the available degrees of freedom for energy to be lost.

If you take your example of the collision of atomic particles, let's say two electrons, then there isn't anywhere for the initial kinetic energy to go. You can't make an electron vibrate, or rotate, or plastically deform it, so all the kinetic energy you put in has to come back out as kinetic energy and the coefficient of restitution is unity.

Though actually electron collisions are not perfectly elastic. Even at low energy the collision will radiate some photons and energy will be lost as a result. That means the coefficient of restitution will be (slightly) less than one. Raise the initial energy to the 209 GeV used in the LEP collider and lots of energy will be lost in creating other particles so the coefficient of restitution may be much less then one.

The reasons why collisions of macroscopic objects have coefficients of restitution less than unity were discussed in my answer to your previous question.

I don't know what you mean by perfectly elastic collision occur during shooting or super elastic collision occur during explosion. If by the latter you mean why does the shrapnel end up with more kinetic energy than it started with, that's because chemical energy of the explosive was converted to kinetic energy. However I think calling this a collision is stretching things a bit.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry the third part was perfectly inelastic collision. It was about a bullet which get stick to a wooden block and movie as single object. Got the fourth part if the question you are right. $\endgroup$ – pcforgeek Dec 13 '14 at 0:13

A purely elastic collision is a theoretical construct, which helps to simplify some situations. In all collisions, some energy is lost as heat, and thus the collision is said to be inelastic.

Perfectly elastic collision does not occur between atomic particles

Your problem here is that you are assuming atomic collisions can be represented by classical physics - they cannot, the situation is more complicated than that at the atomic level. It may be that for the problem you are trying to solve, it has been assumed that the collision is elastic (i.e. any energy loss is negligible).

Can you elaborate on why you are asking these questions? Can you explain what you mean by "shooting" and "super elastic collision"?

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  • $\begingroup$ When we shoot a bullet to another body it get stick together and become as one body. Inelastic collision happen here. Super elastic collision is a type of collision in which coefficient of restitution is greater than one. It occur during explosions. $\endgroup$ – pcforgeek Dec 13 '14 at 0:05

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