You've probably seen this contraption before: Five small silver balls hang in a perfectly straight line by thin threads that attach them to two parallel horizontal bars, which are in turn attached to a base. They sit on office desks around the world. If you pull a ball up and out and then release it, it falls back and collides with the others with a loud click. Then, instead of all four remaining balls swinging out, only the ball on the opposite end jumps forward, leaving its comrades behind, hanging still.
What are elastic and inelastic collisions?
How Newton's Cradles Work | HowStuffWorks
A perfectly elastic collision is defined as one in which there is no loss of kinetic energy in the collision. An inelastic collision is one in which part of the kinetic energy is changed to some other form of energy in the collision. Any macroscopic collision between objects will convert some of the kinetic energy into internal energy and other forms of energy , so no large scale impacts are perfectly elastic. Momentum is conserved in inelastic collisions, but one cannot track the kinetic energy through the collision since some of it is converted to other forms of energy. Collisions in ideal gases approach perfectly elastic collisions, as do scattering interactions of sub-atomic particles which are deflected by the electromagnetic force.
How Does Newton's Cradle Work?
All rights reserved. Before we are done with this lesson we will have seen how we can view Newton's laws in a different way which allows us to see relationships which were hidden before. We will also learn about impulse and momentum and the importance of conservation principles. Objectives Questions 1.
Each ball is set up so that at rest each ball is in contact with an adjacent ball. When an end ball is taken out of rest and pulled away, and released it swings as a pendulum and hits the next ball. At contact with this ball the energy and momentum from the first ball is transmitted through the three balls at rest to the final ball on the other end.