SAT Subject Physics Practice Question 43: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 43

9. Which of the following best describes a perfectly inelastic collision free of external forces?

A. Total linear momentum is never conserved.
B. Total linear momentum is sometimes (but not always) conserved.
C. Kinetic energy is never conserved.
D. Kinetic energy is sometimes (but not always)conserved.
E. Kinetic energy is always conserved.

Correct Answer: C


In a perfectly inelastic collision, kinetic energy is never conserved; some of the initial kinetic energy is always lost to heat and some is converted to potential energy in the deformed shapes of the objects as they lock together.

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