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When you hit a wall with a stick what is the equal but opposite reaction?


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November 04, 2009 5:05AM

While swinging the stick you have created potential energy within the stick's swing. This potential energy is converted into kinetic energy as the stick contacts the wall; but as the wall does not move, or moves quite neglibly, the kinetic energy is converted into loud sound energy. Nevertheless, not all of the kinetic energy is converted: the stick itself reacts, and there is a severe vibration that 'backfires' through the stick itself, if it is still held. In some cases, the stick will break. There is also a miniscule reaction-vibration through the wall itself. Additionally, what is not converted to any of these other energies is converted into heat energy at the point where the stick contacted the wall - both, on the stick and on the wall.