Difference Between Elastic Collision and Inelastic Collision

Main Difference

The main difference between elastic collision and inelastic collision is that the elastic collision is a type of collision in which the kinetic energy remains same before and after the collision, whereas the inelastic collision is a type of collision in which the kinetic energy does not remain same before and after the collision.

Elastic Collision vs. Inelastic Collision

An elastic collision refers to the type of collision in which the kinetic energy remains same throughout the whole collision, whereas the inelastic collision refers to the type of collision in which the kinetic energy does not remain same or conserved throughout the whole collision. An elastic collision is a process in which the heat is not produced on the flip side; an inelastic collision is a process in which the heat is produced.

An elastic collision is a type of collision in which the body comes back after the collision without any type twist or change; on the other hand, the inelastic collision is a type of collision in which the body comes back after the collision with the change in shape or twist. In an elastic collision, the energy never wastes while in an inelastic collision, energy always wastes.

In an elastic collision, forces during the collision do not change into other forms and remain the same, whereas, in an inelastic collision, forces during the collision change into other forms and do not remain the same. An elastic collision always occurs in gas molecules and air molecules while the inelastic collision always occurs in liquids and solids. An elastic collision is only justifiable for sub-atomic particles, whereas the inelastic collision is only justifiable for macro-objects.

Comparison Chart

Elastic CollisionInelastic Collision
An elastic collision is a type of collision in which the law of conservation of energy and law of conservation of momentum remains conserved.An inelastic collision is a type of collision in which only the law of conservation of momentum remains conserved.
Kinetic Energy
ConservedNot conserved
Heat Energy
No heat ProducedHeat produced
Deformation
No deformationDeformation in shape and size
Wastage of Energy
No wastage of energyWastage of energy
Conversions of Forces
Forces do not change into other forms of energyForces change into other forms of energy
Occur In
In gases and air moleculesIn liquids and solids

What is an Elastic Collision?

An elastic collision is a process in which the forms of energy remain the same during the whole process. It is the type of collision in which the kinetic energy remains the same during the bouncing of a body. It is the process in which law of conservation of energy and law of conservation of momentum is valid. The momentum during the whole collision remains the same.

It is the process in heat. It is not produced. In an elastic collision, the change in shape and size does not occur. The body does not have any deformation during the whole collision process. In an elastic collision, forms of energy do not waste. Elastic collision always occurs in gas molecules and also in air molecules. In this type of collision, the forces acting on the body do not convert into other forms of energy.

It is only justifiable for micro-particles. In our daily life, the perfectly elastic collision does not occur. Because in every process, there is always a loss of a small amount of energy from the system and converted into other forms of energy. We can also call this collision an ideal collision.

During the process of elastic collision, kinetic is not converted into other forms of energy such as the sound energy, heat energy, light energy, etc. and not changes into the other changing forms of in the solids. It is the process of exchanging the different properties of the matter. The examples are the bouncing of a rubber ball on the marble floor, and the bouncing of rubber on the smooth surface, etc.

What is an Inelastic Collision?

An inelastic collision is a process in which the other forms of energy do not remain the same during the whole process. It is the process in which the kinetic energy does not remain the same during the bouncing of a body. It is the process in which law of conservation of momentum of a system remains conserved before and after the collision. But the law of conservation of energy of a system does not remain the same before and after the collision.

It is the process in which the heat is produced. In an inelastic collision, the change in shape and size of the body occur. The body has some deformation during the whole process. In an inelastic collision, energy is wasted during the whole process. In inelastic collisions occur in liquids and solids. In this type of collision, the forces acting on the body is converted into other forms of energy.

It is only justifiable for macro-objects. In our daily life, all kinds of collisions are usually inelastic collisions. As we dropped the object onto the floor, the kinetic energy of the object is converted into the sound energy, heat energy, and energy of the movement of the breaking particles. The examples are the bouncing of a plastic ball on the rough surface, and the bouncing of a plastic ball on the hard surface, etc.

Key Differences

  1. An elastic collision denotes to the type of collision in which the kinetic energy remains same throughout the whole collision, whereas the inelastic collision denotes to the type of collision in which the kinetic energy does not remain same or preserved throughout the whole collision.
  2. An elastic collision is a process in which the heat is not shaped on the flip side; the inelastic collision is a process in which the heat is produced.
  3. An elastic collision is a type of collision in which the body comes back after the collision without any type twist or change; on the other hand, the inelastic collision is a type of collision in which the body comes back after the collision with the change in shape or twist.
  4. In an elastic collision, the energy never wastes while in an inelastic collision, energy always wastes.
  5. In an elastic collision, forces during the collision do not need alteration into other forms and remain same, whereas, in an inelastic collision, forces during the collision change into other forms and do not remain same.
  6. An elastic collision always happens in gas molecules and air molecules while the inelastic collision always occurs in liquids and solids.
  7. An elastic collision is only justified for sub-atomic particles, whereas the inelastic collision is only justified for macro-objects.

Conclusion

The above discussion concludes that the elastic collision and inelastic collision both are types of collision. An elastic collision is a type of collision in which there is no net change in kinetic energy during the whole process while an inelastic collision is a type of collision in which a net loss of kinetic energy during the whole process.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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