In physics, collision means the action of bodies striking or coming together (touching).


Collisions involve forces (there is a change in velocity). Collisions can be elastic, meaning they conserve energy and momentum, inelastic, meaning they conserve momentum but not energy, or totally inelastic (or plastic), meaning they conserve momentum and the two objects stick together.

The magnitude of the velocity difference at impact is called the closing speed.

The field of dynamics is concerned with moving and colliding objects.


In billiards, collisions play an important role. Because the collisions between billiard balls are nearly elastic, and the balls roll on a surface that produces low-rolling friction, their behaviour is often used to illustrate Newton's laws of motion.


In traffic such a collision can be between two vehicles, a vehicle and a person, a vehicle and an object, two persons or a person and an object (and more if an animal is involved). It is an accident or even a disaster. At level crossings sometimes a train collides with a vehicle or person. Due to the velocity and mass of a train it needs a long distance to stop, typically longer than the train driver can see ahead. When a train collides with a car this is more likely to be deadly for the people in the car than for those in the train, because the train has more mass and momentum.

See also

* Collision detection
* Car accident
* Elastic collision
* Inelastic collision
* Mid-air collision
* Friction
* Collision (physical attack)
* Projectile
* Space debris
* Impact event
* Impact crater
* Kinetic theory - collisions between molecules

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