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Does the stored potential energy in an elastic deformation provide the energy to push objects away from each other in all collisions when released, or only in certain cases like when striking golf balls or billiard balls?

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there a specific collision you have in mind? Certainly not all collisions have objects that push away from each other. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 27 '19 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ Right. So the parenthesis was just a qualifier as to the type of collision I was referring to not stating that I was saying all collisions have objects bouncing away from each other. I'm talking about collisions that approach elasticity as opposed to inelasticity. Essentially is deformation that results in increased potential energy always going to be the basis for why objects will bounce apart? I was also envisioning macroscopic examples as opposed to particle physics examples like tparker was mentioning below $\endgroup$ – Joe Jul 27 '19 at 22:58
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No, you could also have, say, electrostatic potential energy from Coulomb's law cause charged particles to "bounce off" each other.

Of course, at the atomic level, elastic deformation energy is fundamentally electrostatic in nature (together with quantum effects). What type of potential energy is involved in a process depends to some extent on the scale/level of simplification at which you're thinking.

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