What is elastic dispersion? (with photos)

The collision of billiard balls shows elastic dispersion.

Elastic scattering occurs when two or more particles collide without any loss of energy. This means that although the directions of the particles can change, the total kinetic energy of the system, or energy of motion, is always conserved. The term elastic scattering is commonly used in particle physics, which is the study of microscopic particles, but an elastic collision can also occur between macroscopic objects. An inelastic collision occurs when energy is lost during the collision.

An example of elastic scattering can be seen in snooker or snooker games.

The term elastic scattering comes from scattering theory, which is a set of rules and equations that describe how particles and waves interact. In the macroscopic world, when two objects collide, it is usually through a physical collision. In particle physics, however, objects can collide through other forces, including electromagnetic collisions. An elastic collision can occur between any objects and in any type of collision.

Elastic scattering is very important in particle physics. When electrons collide with other particles, for example, the collision is elastic because no energy is lost. This is known as Rutherford scattering and is a phenomenon that led to the discovery of the structure of the atom.

In the macroscopic or physical world, a true elastic collision between two large objects is exceptionally unlikely. This is due to surrounding forces as well as vibrations that occur inside large objects. There are some situations, however, in which a collision can be considered elastic. This is useful because it allows the predicted speed and direction of two objects after a collision to be estimated using simpler methods.

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A common example of elastic dispersion in the physical world is the collision of two billiard balls. Although a small amount of energy is lost in this collision due to friction, this is small enough to be negligible. When two billiard balls collide, the second ball gains almost exactly the amount of energy that the first ball loses, so the total kinetic energy of the system is conserved.

Inelastic scattering occurs when the total energy of two or more colliding objects is not conserved. In collisions between real-world objects, inelastic collisions are much more common. This is mainly due to the extra vibrations that occur when one large object collides with another, as these vibrations absorb energy that would have been used for motion. Momentum, however, is always conserved in both elastic and inelastic collisions.

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