Experimental determination of the coefficient of restitution for meter-scale granite spheres

Daniel D. Durda, Naor Movshovitz, Derek C. Richardson, Erik Asphaug, Alex Morgan, Alan R. Rawlings, Chris Vest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


We present results of a series of large-scale experiments to measure the coefficient of restitution for 1-m-diameter rocky bodies in impacts with collision speeds up to ∼1.5ms-1. The experiments were conducted in an outdoor setting, with two 40-ton cranes used to suspend the ∼1300-kg granite spheres pendulum-style in mutual contact at the bottoms of their respective paths of motion. The spheres were displaced up to ∼1m from their rest positions and allowed to impact each other in normal-incidence collisions at relative speeds up to ∼1.5ms-1. Video data from 66 normal-incidence impacts suggest a value for the coefficient of restitution of 0.83±0.06 for collisions between ∼1-m-scale spheres at speeds of order 1ms-1. No clear trend of coefficient of restitution with impact speed is discernable in the data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-855
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Asteroids
  • Collisional physics
  • Experimental techniques
  • Planetary formation
  • Planetary rings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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