How can I determine the waste energy after a completely inelastic collision?Scenario: how does the initial elastic potential energy affect the amount of waste energy produced after a completely...

How can I determine the waste energy after a completely inelastic collision?

Scenario: how does the initial elastic potential energy affect the amount of waste energy produced after a completely inelastic collision. Is it initial elastic potential energy - final kinetic energy of the (2 carts combined) or is it initial elastic potential energy - final kinetic energy/ initial elastic potential energy. Waste energy is like after a collision some of the energy is turned to sound or thermal energy..

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justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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When there is an elastic collision in a system, both the total momentum as well as the total kinetic energy is conserved. In the case of an inelastic collision only the total momentum is conserved, the total kinetic energy is not conserved.

If a collision is being considered the initial kinetic energy of all the particles undergoing collision should be equal to the kinetic energy of the particles after the collision. Any reduction is the kinetic energy can be considered to be wasted energy.

To determine the energy wasted, you can calculate the total kinetic energy initially and from that subtract the total kinetic energy after collision. The result you get is the wasted energy. The wasted energy can be in the form of heat, sound, or creation of bonds between the colliding particles.

The scenario you have explained is incomprehensible. Just remember that the wasted energy for an inelastic collision is the difference between the initial and the final kinetic energy.

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