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Encyclopedia > Inelastic

There are separate articles about elasticity in economics, and about British rubber bands.

In solid mechanics, the adjective elastic characterises both collisions between, and deformations of, physical objects.

A collision is perfectly elastic if the total kinetic energy of the colliding objects is conserved as kinetic energy (overall energy is conserved in all collisions, whether elastic or not). No macroscopic collisions are truly elastic, although some come close. A frequent cause of highly inelastic collisions occurs when one or more of the objects suffers a plastic deformation.

The deformation of a solid is part of the study of solid mechanics. In solid mechanics, a material is elastic if it changes shape due to an applied load, but that when the load is removed, recovers its original shape. Further, the deformation of an elastic material is linearly related to the applied load.

The elasticity of a solid is inversely proportional to the strength of the material. If the material is isotropic, its strength is characterized by Young's modulus. Furthermore, if the material is isotropic, and a force is applied in one direction, the deformation in the other directions is governed by Poisson's ratio.

The word elastic is often used colloquially to refer to an elastomeric material such as rubber or cloth/rubber combinations.

Applications of elastomeric materials

  • holding things together, e.g. with a rubber band
  • moving something over a thick to a thin part, and/or to keep it in place, e.g. clothing put on over the head, hips, hands, feet, and a necklace, bracelet, watch, a condom. An alternative in many of these cases (not for socks or a condom) is a closing device such as buttons, a zipper, laces, Velcro, a buckle, a snap
  • a hose
  • airtight or watertight connections
  • cushioning (a shock absorber) as with tires and for the soles of shoes, and under the legs of chairs, under vibrating equipment, on a door or door-post, on bumper cars, etc.
  • for balloons, as decoration or entertainment, and for use in medicine
  • in bungee jumping, for reducing downward speed gradually, and then pulling one up again
  • slingshot, bow (weapon)

For some applications a spring is an alternative.

In some of the aplications the flexibility is needed but not the elastic force. In that case, when a large flexibility is needed for a large surface, a folding wall is an alternative connections between railroad cars and in articulated buses, and in an accordion.

  Results from FactBites:
Inelastic collision - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (275 words)
Inelastic collision is a collision in which some of the kinetic energy of the colliding bodies is converted into internal energy in at least one body such that kinetic energy is not conserved.
In nuclear physics, an inelastic collision is one in which the incoming particle causes the nucleus it strikes to become excited or to break up.
Deep inelastic scattering is a method of probing the structure of subatomic particles in much the same way as Rutherford probed the inside of the atom (see Rutherford scattering).
Elasticity (economics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (856 words)
For such goods, the price elasticity of demand might be considered inelastic.
Notice that when E is between negative infinity and negative one, demand is elastic.
When E is between negative one and zero, demand is inelastic.
  More results at FactBites »



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