VU Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Friday, April 3, at 3:20 PM in NSC 224. Join us for refreshments in NSC 231 at 3:05 PM.

"Collision Reconstruction Using Conservation of Energy"

Tom Morris, St. Louis Traffic Accident Reconstruction

Learn how the conservation of energy in a closed system is used to determine the velocity of a vehicle prior to impact.  The kinetic energy possessed by each vehicle prior to the collision is lost through friction between the pavement and roadway and transformed into permanent deformation of the vehicles.  See how instrumented crash testing provides the investigator with the data needed to calculate the energy lost in the permanent crush by using Hooke's Law as a simple model of work done when a vehicle is damaged.  The principles will then be employed to calculate the impact velocity of a vehicle dropped from a crane.

As time permits, a quick review of available techonology used to analyze accidents will be demonstrated, including forensic mapping, animation, simulation, GPS enabled accelerometers.