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# collision

/keuh lizh"euhn/, n.
1. the act of colliding; a coming violently into contact; crash: the collision of two airplanes.
2. a clash; conflict: a collision of purposes.
3. Physics. the meeting of particles or of bodies in which each exerts a force upon the other, causing the exchange of energy or momentum.
[1400-50; late ME < LL collision- (s. of collisio), equiv. to collis(us) (ptp. of collidere to COLLIDE) + -ion- -ION]

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also called  impact
in physics, the sudden, forceful coming together in direct contact of two bodies, such as, for example, two billiard balls, a golf club and a ball, a hammer and a nail head, two railroad cars when being coupled together, or a falling object and a floor. Apart from the properties of the materials of the two objects, two factors affect the result of impact: the force and the time during which the objects are in contact. It is a matter of common experience that a hard steel ball dropped on a steel plate will rebound to almost the position from which it was dropped, whereas with a ball of putty or lead there is no rebound. The impact between the steel ball and plate is said to be elastic, and that between the putty or lead balls and plate is inelastic, or plastic; between these extremes there are varying degrees of elasticity and corresponding responses to impact. In a perfectly elastic impact (attained only at the atomic level), none of the kinetic energy of the coacting bodies is lost; in a perfectly plastic impact, the loss of kinetic energy is at a maximum.

In all of the examples of colliding bodies here referred to, the time of contact is extremely short and the force of contact extremely large. It can be shown that, in the limiting case of an “infinite” force acting for an “infinitesimal” time, there is an instantaneous change in the velocity of a body but no change in its position during the period of contact. Forces of this nature are known as impulsive forces and, being difficult to measure or estimate, their effects are measured by the change in the momentum (mass times velocity) of the body. The ballistic pendulum is a device based on this principle.

When two bodies collide, the sum of the momenta of the bodies before impact is equal to the sum of the momenta after impact. The relation between the kinetic energies before and after impact depends, as previously noted, on the elasticity of the bodies. Knowing the initial velocities, the final velocities can be obtained by the simultaneous solution of the momentum and energy equations in the case of perfectly elastic collisions.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

### Look at other dictionaries:

• collision — [ kɔlizjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1480; lat. collisio 1 ♦ Choc de deux corps qui se rencontrent. ⇒ impact. Collision entre deux voitures, deux trains. ⇒ accident, accrochage, télescopage. Entrer en collision avec (qqch.) :heurter (qqch.). Assurance tierce… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

• collision — col‧li‧sion [kəˈlɪʒn] noun [countable, uncountable] 1. INSURANCE when a vehicle hits another vehicle or object, causing damage: • His car was in collision with another vehicle. • All aircraft are now fitted with collision avoidance equipment. 2 …   Financial and business terms

• collision — I (accident) noun concussion, contact, convergence, crash, encounter, impact, impingement, jar, jolt, meeting, percussion, pileup, shock, striking together, sudden contact, violent contact associated concepts: avoidable collision, collision auto… …   Law dictionary

• Collision — (v. lat. Collisio), 1) das Zusammentreffen zweier harter Körper im Stoß; 2) Zusammentreffen entgegengesetzter Dinge od. Interessen in einem Punkte; 3) in der Jurisprudenz u. Moral das gleichzeitige Vorhandensein verschiedener Bestimmungen für… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

• Collision — Col*li sion, n. [L. collisio, fr. collidere. See {Collide}.] 1. The act of striking together; a striking together, as of two hard bodies; a violent meeting, as of railroad trains; a clashing. [1913 Webster] 2. A state of opposition; antagonism;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

• collision — COLLISION. s. f. Terme didactique. Le choe de deux corps. Les Philosophes expliquent plusieurs effets par la collision des corps …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

• collision — early 15c., from M.Fr. collision (15c.), from L. collisionem (nom. collisio) a dashing together, noun of action from collidere (see COLLIDE (Cf. collide)) …   Etymology dictionary

• collision — COLLISION. s. f. Le choc de deux corps. Les Philosophes expliquent plusieurs effets par la collision des corps. Il n est bon que dans le dogmatique …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

• Collision —   [engl.], Kollision …   Universal-Lexikon

• collision — *impact, impingement, clash, shock, concussion, percussion, jar, jolt Analogous words: striking, hitting (see STRIKE vb): wrecking or wreck, ruining or ruin, dilapidation (see corresponding verbs at RUIN): demolishment, destruction (see… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

• collision — [n] accident blow, bump, butt, concussion, contact, crash, demolishment, destruction, dilapidation, encounter, fender bender*, headon*, hit, impact, jar, jolt, knock, percussion, pileup*, rap, ruin, shock, sideswipe, slam, smash, strike, thud,… …   New thesaurus