Collisions: Elastic and inelastic forces Virtual Lab

Join Dr. One and Isaac Newton at the pool table to learn about momentum conservation and elastic and inelastic collisions. 

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About the Collisions: Elastic and inelastic forces Virtual Lab

Brace for impact! In this simulation, you will learn how to use momentum conservation to predict the outcome of a collision, and demonstrate how momentum is conserved in elastic and inelastic collisions. 

Help Newton improve his pool

Isaac Newton is a great physicist, but he still has plenty to learn as a pool player. Students will help Newton apply his knowledge of momentum conservation, kinetic energy, and elastic and inelastic collisions to improve his pool skills. After finding out about the elements of energy and momentum conservation in collisions, students will solve puzzles that allow them to demonstrate momentum conservation and prove their knowledge of the topic.

Trigger collisions between billiard balls

Students will produce collisions between balls with different properties in a wide range of scenarios. These include balls that produce elastic collisions, balls that produce completely inelastic collisions, and balls that have different masses, materials, and initial velocities.

The parameters of the collision, including mass, velocity, and momentum of each ball are displayed in real time, allowing the student to observe the conservation of total momentum in each collision. 

The student is presented with a sequence of scenarios that increasingly build complexity and skill, starting from observation and culminating in informed decision-making in which the student will apply their newly acquired knowledge on momentum conservation.

Solve puzzles about momentum conservation

In the end, you will apply your knowledge of momentum conservation and elastic and inelastic collisions to produce collisions and solve puzzles. Will you run the table in this match?

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Join Dr. One and Isaac Newton at the pool table to learn about momentum conservation and elastic and inelastic collisions. 

Techniques in lab
Collisions, Momentum, Linear momentum, Momentum conservation, Energy, Kinetic energy, Elastic/Inelastic collision, Completely inelastic collision, Energy conservation
Learning objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to...

  • Apply the momentum equation to calculate total momentum before collision events and velocities of objects after collisions
  • Experimentally demonstrate the conservation of momentum
  • Differentiate between examples of inelastic and elastic collisions
Simulation features

Length: 15 Minutes
Accessibility mode: Not available
Languages: English (United States)

NGSS

HS-PS1, PS1A, PS1B

AP

Physics C: Mechanics Unit 4.3

Physics 2 Unit 2.8

Physics 2 Unit 2.9