Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Elastic and inelastic shocks
Elastic and inelastic shocks

In an elastic shock—for example, between two steel balls—the entire kinetic energy of the bodies before and after the shock remains constant. In an inelastic shock—for example, between a steel ball and a wax ball—part of the kinetic energy is transformed into other forms of energy such as distorting energy (the shapes of the colliding bodies are altered) or heat (a slight warming of the colliding bodies).