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Last update: 2009-08-17
Elastic Collisions Using Vectors instead of Trigonometry

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This document shows how to solve two-dimensional elastic collision problems using vectors instead of trigonometry. This approach is much simpler than using trigonometry. The file is a PDF. If you do not have a PDF viewer, you can download Adobe Reader free. Another good choice is the free Foxit Reader which is much more compact and faster than Adobe Reader.

Here is the main document: 2-Dimensional Elastic Collisions without Trigonometry

To see these formulas in action, check out the 2-D collision simulator called Bouncescope. This program lets you simulate lots of balls bouncing around and you can customize the mass, velocity, size, and color of each ball.

Comments and questions are welcome. E-mail address: contact delete-this-before-sending _AT_ vobarian.com (Obviously, delete the extraneous words and replace _AT_ with @. This is to reduce spam.)

Mountains & clouds at top of page (clouds.jpg) taken from photo by Oswald Skene / DHD Multimedia Gallery

©2009 Chad Berchek - everything here unless otherwise noted