SAT Subject Physics Practice Question 41: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 41

7. Two objects move toward each other, collide, and separate. If there was no net external force acting on the objects, but some kinetic energy was lost, then

A. the collision was elastic and total linear momentum was conserved
B. the collision was elastic and total linear momentum was not conserved
C. the collision was not elastic and total linear momentum was conserved
D. the collision was not elastic and total linear momentum was not conserved
E. None of the above

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Total linear momentum is conserved in a collision during which the net external force is zero. If kinetic energy is lost, then by definition, the collision is not elastic.

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