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One Dimensional Collision Model Documents

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Main Document

One Dimensional Collision Model 

written by Andrew Duffy

This interactive simulation allows students to collide two objects and investigate whether momentum and/or kinetic energy are conserved in the collision process. To keep things simple, the simulation involves an isolated system where the objects collide along a single line. Use the sliders to set mass of both objects, initial velocity, and elasticity: then watch the resulting collision. Students then calculate post-collision values for momentum and kinetic energy for both balls.

SEE ANNOTATIONS for a link to an editor-recommended online tutorial on conservation of momentum, part of The Physics Classroom collection.  

Editor's Note: Lots of factors are at play, even in a simple collision. This resource will help your students build understanding the of following:  1) How to apply the law of momentum conservation, 2) Total energy in a closed system (it's always conserved, but in collisions, kinetic energy is generally transformed into other forms of energy), 3) In special cases (perfectly elastic collisions) the kinetic energy stays the same before and after a collision, 4) In completely inelastic collisions, objects stick together, 5) momentum is a vector.

This resource is distributed as a ready-to-run (compiled) Java archive.   In order to modify the simulation (and see how it is designed), users must install the Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool. SEE RELATED MATERIALS for a link to install the EJS modeling tool.

Last Modified August 20, 2013

This file has previous versions.

Supplemental Documents

One Dimensional Collision Model Source Code 

The source code zip archive contains an XML representation of the One Dimensional Collision model.   Unzip this archive in your EJS workspace to compile and run this model using EJS.

Published April 25, 2010
Last Modified April 27, 2010