Colliding Cars

Two cars collide at an intersection as shown in the figure. They have masses and and velocities and ; is time. Assume that the collision is perfectly inelastic in two dimensions—the two objects stick together with a great deal of kinetic energy lost. The final velocity and the angle that the cars follow when they move off after the crash are calculated using the law of conservation of momentum.



  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]


The expressions for the angle and final velocity are
At 100 km/hr (equivalent to 27.8 m/s), a car traveling for 0.75 seconds moves almost 21 meters; the length of the car is taken as 3.3 m.
Further details that are important in real crashes, such as reaction time, braking, friction, center of mass, etc., are ignored in this Demonstration.
    • Share:

Embed Interactive Demonstration New!

Just copy and paste this snippet of JavaScript code into your website or blog to put the live Demonstration on your site. More details »

Files require Wolfram CDF Player or Mathematica.

Mathematica »
The #1 tool for creating Demonstrations
and anything technical.
Wolfram|Alpha »
Explore anything with the first
computational knowledge engine.
MathWorld »
The web's most extensive
mathematics resource.
Course Assistant Apps »
An app for every course—
right in the palm of your hand.
Wolfram Blog »
Read our views on math,
science, and technology.
Computable Document Format »
The format that makes Demonstrations
(and any information) easy to share and
interact with.
STEM Initiative »
Programs & resources for
educators, schools & students.
Computerbasedmath.org »
Join the initiative for modernizing
math education.
Step-by-Step Solutions »
Walk through homework problems one step at a time, with hints to help along the way.
Wolfram Problem Generator »
Unlimited random practice problems and answers with built-in step-by-step solutions. Practice online or make a printable study sheet.
Wolfram Language »
Knowledge-based programming for everyone.
Powered by Wolfram Mathematica © 2018 Wolfram Demonstrations Project & Contributors  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  RSS Give us your feedback
Note: To run this Demonstration you need Mathematica 7+ or the free Mathematica Player 7EX
Download or upgrade to Mathematica Player 7EX
I already have Mathematica Player or Mathematica 7+