My OpenLearn Profile
- Personalise your OpenLearn profile
- Save your favourite content
- Get recognition for your learning
Collisions and conservation laws
This free course, Collisions and conservation laws, begins by explaining elastic and inelastic collisions and then goes on to show how collisions may be quantified using the conservation of linear momentum and of kinetic energy. Interactive animations are used to illustrate this behaviour and video examples discuss collisions in the world around us. Finally, this course looks at how the understanding of collisions must be modified when the speeds involved are close to the speed of light, using special relativity.
Course learning outcomes
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand the meaning of all the newly defined (emboldened) terms introduced
- describe the essential features of elastic and inelastic collisions, and give examples of each
- use the law of conservation of momentum, and (when appropriate) the law of conservation of kinetic energy, to solve a variety of simple collision problems.
You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Analysing collisions
- 2 Elastic and inelastic collisions
- 3 Elastic collisions in one dimension
- 4 Elastic collisions in two or three dimensions
- 5 Inelastic collisions
- 6 Collisions all around us
- 7 Relativistic collisions
- Keep on learning
Create an account to get more
Track your progress
Review and track your learning through your OpenLearn Profile.
Statement of participation
On completetion of a course you will earn a Statement of participation.
Access all course activities
Take course quizzes and access all learning.
Review the course
When you have finished a course leave a review and tell others what you think.
Creative commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence.
However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions and our FAQs.
Full copyright details can be found in the Acknowledgements section of each week.
For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.Have a question?
Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has nearly 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.
Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.
About this free course
5 hours study
Level 2: Intermediate
Download this course
Free statement of participation on completion of these courses.