Classical mechanics refers to the classical (i.e., non-relativistic, non-quantum) study of physics. Three major formulations of classical mechanics are newtonian mechanics, lagrangian mechanics, and hamiltonian mechanics. The latter two are rather useful in extensions to Classical Mechanics; ...

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Are the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian always convex functions?

The Hamiltonian and Lagrangian are related by a Legendre transform: $$ H(\mathbf{q}, \mathbf{p}, t) = \sum_i \dot q_i p_i - \mathcal{L}(\mathbf{q}, \mathbf{\dot q}, t). $$ For this to be a Legendre ...
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Shape of rotating rope (lasso problem?)

Let's take a wire or a rope. I usually do this with a chain or my scarf. I fixate one end in my hand and apply rotation (by subtle movements of this endpoint like spinning a lasso). The rope gets ...
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644 views

D'Alembert's Principle: Necesssity of virtual displacements

Why is the D'Alembert's Principle $$\sum_{i} ( {F}_{i} - m_i \bf{a}_i )\cdot \delta \bf r_i = 0$$ stated in terms of "virtual" displacements instead of actual displacements? Why is it so necessary ...
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What happens when a ball stops bouncing?

If I were to drop a bouncy ball onto a surface, each successive bounce will be lower in height as energy is dissipated. Eventually, however, the ball will cease to bounce and will remain in contact ...
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Classical mechanics: Generating function of lagrangian submanifold

I have a short question regarding the geometrical interpretation of the Hamilton-Jacobi-equation. One has the geometric version of $H \circ dS = E$ as an lagrangian submanifold $L=im(dS)$, which is ...
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Why does water gulp out of a water bottle with a narrow opening instead of a steady flow?

For example, take a water bottle. Fill it with water and then turn it upside down. Instead of flowing steadily downward, it gulps down in parts. Why?
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How can things be chaotic on a quantum level, yet tangible on a classical level?

This may seem basic, but I am wondering if anyone has any input on this topic. It doesn't make any sense to me (I mean I don't need to use the Schrödinger equation to find my cell phone...). I just do ...
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Which Mechanics book is the best for beginner in math major?

I'm a bachelor student majoring in math, and pretty interested in physics. I would like a book to study for classical mechanics, that will prepare me to work through Goldstein's Classical Mechanics. ...
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Why can't we obtain a Hamiltonian by substituting?

This question may sound a bit dumb. Why can't we obtain the Hamiltonian of a system simply by finding $\dot{q}$ in terms of $p$ and then evaluating the Lagrangian with $\dot{q} = \dot{q}(p)$? Wouldn't ...
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Are water waves (i.e. on the surface of the ocean) longitudinal or transverse?

I'm convinced that water waves for example: are a combination of longitudinal and transverse. Any references or proofs of this or otherwise?
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Simple Harmonic Motion - What are the units for $\omega_0$ ?

I'm trying to understand the units in: $mx''+kx=0$ And the general solution is $x(t)=A \cos(\omega_0 t)+B \sin(\omega_0 t)$ Let $\omega_0 =\sqrt{\frac{k}{m}}$ - the unit for the spring constant $k$ ...
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Examples where momentum is not equal to $mv$?

I am aware that momentum is the thing which is conserved due to symmetries in space (rotational symmetry, translaitonal symmetry, etc). I am aware that in some systems, the generalized momentum, ...
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How long it will take for a upright rigid body to fall on a ground

Let's suppose there is a straight rigid bar with height $h$ and center of mass at the middle of height $h/2$. Now if the bar is vertically upright from ground, how long will it take to fall on the ...
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390 views

Formalism to deal with discontinuous potentials in classical mechanics (hard wall, hard spheres)

It seems to me that Hamiltonian formalism does not suit well for problems involving instantaneous change of momentum, like particle collisions with hard wall or hard sphere gas model. At least I could ...
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Why Do Hurricane Balls Spin So Fast?

I was wondering if anyone could offer an explanation as to why the balls described in this video spin so fast. Here's the setup: Two metal balls are wielded together. When spun with air, they ...
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816 views

Why does a ping pong ball change direction when I spin it on a table?

When I spin a ping pong ball on the table, it rolls forward in the opposite direction of the spin, and then eventually changes direction and rolls backward. Here's a video demonstrating the effect. ...
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Shaking a jar of balls

A jar is filled with two types of balls, red and green. Red balls have radius $r_1$ and mass $m_1$, green balls have radius $r_2$ and mass $m_2$. If initially the balls are randomly placed throughout ...
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Why does a car engine not do work if the wheels don't slip?

I saw this mind boggling result that if the tires don't slip then the work done by an engine to move a car is zero. Why is this true? Moreover, what does this truly mean? Update: Sorry about not ...
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Confusion regarding the principle of least action in Landau's “The Classical Theory of Fields”

Edit: The previous title didn't really ask the same thing as the question (sorry about that), so I've changed it. To clarify, I understand that the action isn't always a minimum. My questions are in ...
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Force through quantum mechanics

In classical physics force is: $$F=\frac {dp}{dt}$$ How about quantum mechanics? In Old Quantum Mechanics momentum is: $p=\hbar \cdot k$ so force will be: $$F=\hbar \frac {dk}{dt}$$ what does $\frac ...
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Quantum version of the Galton Board

If classical particles fall through a Galton Board they pile up in the limit of large numbers like a normal distribution, see e.g. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/GaltonBoard.html What kind of ...
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Why can't any term which is added to the Lagrangian be written as a total derivative (or divergence)?

All right, I know there must be an elementary proof of this, but I am not sure why I never came across it before. Adding a total time derivative to the Lagrangian (or a 4D divergence of some 4 ...
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140 views

How to prove that a hamiltonian system is not integrable?

To show that a system is integrable, we just need to find $N$ independent functions $f_j$ such that $\{ f_i, f_j \} = 0$. But how to prove that such a set of functions do not exist? For example, ...
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When does $\hbar \rightarrow 0$ provide a valid transition from quantum to classcial mechanics? When and why does it fail?

Lets look at the transition amplitude $U(x_{b},x_{a})$ for a free particle between two points $x_{a}$ and $x_{b}$ in the Feynman path integral formulation $U(x_{b},x_{a}) = \int_{x_{a}}^{x_{b}} ...
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Translation Invariance without Momentum Conservation?

Instead of the actual gravitational force, in which the two masses enter symmetrically, consider something like $$\vec F_{ab} = G\frac{m_a m_b^2}{|\vec r_a - \vec r_b|^2}\hat r_{ab}$$ where $\vec ...
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Ball Rolling in a Parabolic Bowl

I encountered a physics problem which inquired about a ball rolling inside a parabolic bowl (i.e. a bowl where any cross section through the vertex would make a parabolic shape given by $y = kx^2$). ...
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Why isn't temperature frame dependent?

In (non-relativistic) classical physics, if the temperature of an object is proportional to the average kinetic energy ${1 \over 2} m\overline {v^{2}}$of its particles (or molecules), then shouldn't ...
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258 views

When motion begins, do objects go through an infinite number of position derivatives?

This might be a very vague and unclear question, but let me explain. When an object at rest moves, or moves from point $A$ to point $B$, we know the object must have had some velocity (1st derivative ...
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Hamiltonian is conserved, but is not the total mechanical energy

I wondering about the interpretation for the energy difference between the Hamiltonian and the total mechanical energy for systems where the Hamiltonian is conserved, but it is not equal to the total ...
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How does such strange microscopic behavior at the atomic level (quantum mechanics) lead to the macroscopic behavior at our level?

So, I'm only a high school student researching quantum physics, and I find it very interesting. However, there's one question that keeps nagging at me in the back of my head. How exactly do odd ...
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811 views

Brachistochrone Problem for Inhomogeneous Potential

This recent question about holes dug through the Earth led me to wonder: if I wanted to dig out a tube from the north pole to the equator and build a water slide in it, which shape would be the ...
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779 views

Intrinsic angular momentum in classical mechanics

Please note, I am only interested in classical mechanics discussion on this. Please do not involve quantum mechanics. Inspired by this question: Is Angular Momentum truly fundamental? My question ...
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1answer
115 views

Are Carnot engine efficieny and Fourier heat trasmission law related?

It just occured to me that the efficiency of Carnot cycles is $\eta= \frac{T_1 - T_2}{T_1}$, that is, the efficiency decreases as the difference between reservoir temperatures decreases. On the other ...
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Is $k_B \rightarrow 0$ the classical limit of stat. mech., as $\hbar \rightarrow 0$ is in QM?

I hear very often among my peers and seniors that just as how $\hbar\rightarrow0$ takes me to classical mechanics from quantum mechanics, $k_B\rightarrow0$ will take me to classical thermodynamics ...
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Is “Causality” the equivalent of a claim that the future is predictable based on the present and the past?

In classical (Newtonian) mechanics, every observer had the same past and the same future and if you had perfect knowledge about the current state of all particles in the universe, you could ...
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Boundary layer theory in fluids learning resources

I'm trying to understand boundary layer theory in fluids. All I've found are dimensional arguments, order of magnitude arguments, etc... What I'm looking for is more mathematically sound arguments. ...
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129 views

Lagrangian formalism and Contact Bundles

In his Applied Differential Geometry book, William Burke says the following after telling that the action should be the integral of a function $L$: A line integral makes geometric sense only if ...
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408 views

Is there a fundamental reason not to define the work vice-versa

My question arises from something which has never been really clear: in continuum mechanics, why is strain energy defined as: $$W=\int_\Omega ...
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5answers
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Trouble with classical mechanics self-learning (How to avoid going down the Physics rabbit hole?) [duplicate]

I'm a retired police officer trying to learn classical mechanics on my own. I have gone through many links on the Internet including the classical mechanics quick reference textbooks from Physics ...
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3answers
970 views

How does one quantize the phase-space semiclassically?

Often, when people give talks about semiclassical theories they are very shady about how quantization actually works. Usually they start with talking about a partition of $\hbar$-cells then end up ...
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753 views

Non-Integrable systems

Integrable systems are systems which have $2n-1$ time-independent, functionally independent conserved quantities (n being the number of degrees of freedom), or n whose Poisson brackets with each other ...
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What do the derivatives in these Hamilton equations mean?

I have a Hamiltonian: $$H=\dot qp - L = \frac 1 2 m\dot q^2+kq^2\frac 1 2 - aq$$ In a system with one coordinate $q$ (where $L$ is the Lagrangian). One of the Hamilton equations is: $$\dot q ...
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3answers
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Why do non-Newtonian fluids go hard when having a sudden force exerted on them?

You can dip your hands into a bowl of non-Newtonian fluid but if you are to punch it, it goes hard all of a sudden and is more like a solid than anything else. What is it about a non-Newtonian fluid ...
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2k views

How do you produce electricity from a wind mill?

How does a spinning windmill produce electricity?What is the principle behind the windmill?
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Classical vs. quantum energy of the hydrogen atom

If I have an electron and a proton and calculate the classical energy which I get by bringing the electron from infinity to the distance of a Bohr radius to the proton, I get 27.2 eV, but the electron ...
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How fast does force propagate through matter? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it possible for information to be transmitted faster than light? Consider the following thought experiment. You have a long perfectly rigid beam (for the sake of ...
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Is rotational motion relative to space?

Let's assume that there is nothing in the universe except Earth. If the Earth rotates on its axis as it does, then would we experience the effects of rotational motion like centrifugal force and ...
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4answers
832 views

Connection between Poisson Brackets and Symplectic Form

Jose and Saletan say the matrix elements of the Poisson Brackets (PB) in the $ {q,p} $ basis are the same as those of the inverse of the symplectic matrix $ \Omega^{-1} $, whereas the matrix elements ...
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2answers
826 views

Forget Hooke's law. Why does a spring exert a force?

Forgetting Hooke's law for a minute why, from a microscopic perspective (preferably quantum) on up to a macroscopic one, does a spring under tension exert a force? I was thinking that there might be ...
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2answers
254 views

Any good resources for Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Dynamics?

I'm taking a course on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Dynamics, and I would like to find a good book/resource with lots of practice questions and answers on either or both topics. So far at my university ...