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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Maximum speed of a rocket with a potential of relativistic speeds

Ultimately, the factor limiting the maximum speed of a rocket is: the amount of fuel it carries the speed of ejection of the gases the mass of the rocket the length of the rocket ...
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Can all the theorems of classical mechanics be deduced from Newton's laws?

As above, is the whole edifice of Newtonian mechanics built upon Newton's three laws of motion? Can I deduce all the theorems without referring to further assumptions?
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How do we know if a formulation of classical mechanics is correct?

For example, the Lagrangian formulation. I may be missing something, i.e. not having done it in enough detail, but here is my issue: from the definition of the lagrangian ($\mathcal{L}$) and from ...
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In the Principle of Least Action, how does a particle know where it will be in the future?

In his book on Classical Mechanics, Prof. Feynman asserts that it just does. But if this is really what happens (& if the Principle of Least Action is more fundamental than Newton's Laws), then ...
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Why does the Stern–Gerlach quantum spin experiment conflict with classical mechanics?

My understanding of the Stern–Gerlach experiment is that neutral (0 total charge) particles are sent through a non-homogeneous magnetic field, with the expectation that the field will push that ...
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When is the principle of virtual work valid?

The principle of virtual work says that forces of constraint don't do net work under virtual displacements that are consistent with constraints. Goldstein says something I don't understand. He says ...
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Naive questions on the concept of effective Lagrangian and equations of motion?

Let us consider a LC circuit containing an electric dipole moment, the quantum system (electric field $E$ coupled with a dipole moment) can be described by the path integral $$Z=\int DEDxe^{i\int ...
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How do traveling waves pass through a standing wave node, if the node doesn't move?

I'm having trouble with the explanation that a standing wave in a string is the superposition of traveling waves. The nodes in the diagram above are points where the particles of the string's ...
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Particle in a 1-D box and the correspondence principle

Consider the particle in a 1-d box, we know very well the solutions of it. I'd like to see how the correspondence principle will work out in this case, if we consider position probability density ...
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Constraints of massive relativistic point particle in Hamiltonian mechanics

I try to understand constructing of Hamiltonian mechanics with constraints. I decided to start with the simple case: free relativistic particle. I've constructed hamiltonian with constraint: ...
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What's the optimal shape for a continuous Galilean Cannon?

A Galilean Cannon is a toy similar to the famous basketball-and-tennis-ball demonstration. You take a tennis ball, balance it on top a basketball, and drop them both. The tennis ball will bounce up to ...
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Rotationally invariant body and principal axis

Suppose a rigid body is invariant under a rotation around an axis $\mathsf{A}$ by a given angle $0 \leq \alpha_0 < 2\pi$ (and also every multiple of $\alpha_0$). Is it true that in this case the ...
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Pendulum with water dripping out

Consider a pendulum, consisting of a string of length $l$ tied to a ball of negligible mass and radius $r$. The bob is filled with water, which has density $d$, and the pendulum is given a small push ...
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Physical meaning of the Lagrangian function [duplicate]

In Lagrangian mechanics, the function $L=T-V$, called Lagrangian, is introduced, where $T$ is the kinetic energy and $V$ the potential one. I was wondering: is there any reason for this quantity to ...
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Hamiltonian and the space-time structure

I'm reading Arnold's "Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics" but I failed to find rigorous development for the allowed forms of Hamiltonian. Space-time structure dictates the form of ...
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How should I throttle my rocket to reach highest altitude? [closed]

"Real world" problem. Suppose we want to launch a rocket equipped with an engine which can be throttled as we prefer. Suppose also that the amount of fuel burnt per time is directly proportional ...
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Phase Space Flow

Phase space flow shares characteristics with fluid flow such as incompressibility by Liouville's theorem. Extending the similarities one might be curious, does phase space flow have a characteristic ...
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Is there any case in physics where the equations of motion depend on high time derivatives of the position?

For example if the force on a particle is of the form $ \mathbf F = \mathbf F(\mathbf r, \dot{\mathbf r}, \ddot{\mathbf r}, \dddot{\mathbf r}) $, then the equation of motion would be a third order ...
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How do levers amplify forces?

This is really bothering me for a long time, because the math is easy to do, but it's still unintuitive for me. I understand the "law of the lever" and I can do the math and use the torques, or ...
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Is there an equivalent of a scalar potential for torques?

For a given scalar potential $V$, it is known that the corresponding force field $\mathbf{F}$ can be computed from $$ \mathbf{F} = -\nabla V $$ Suppose a rigid body is placed inside this ...
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Three Pendulum Rotary Harmonograph

I'm trying to create a simulation of a three pendulum rotary harmonograph, the one you can see in action in this video or in these instructions. As you can see in the video, there are 2 pendulum with ...
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Can a force in an explicitly time dependent classical system be conservative?

If I consider equations of motion derived from the pinciple of least action for an explicilty time dependend Lagrangian $$\delta S[L[q(\text{t}),q'(\text{t}),{\bf t}]]=0,$$ under what ...
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Physics of scaling up an animal: the neck

Consider an animal like a horse. Now scale its neck longer and longer. How can a giraffe, or even worse a huge dinosaur, raise its neck without the tendons snapping? The dinosaur case in particular ...
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Will a wave packet undergo dispersion when traveling down a hanging rope?

Suppose I tie one end of a rope to my ceiling and the other end to a spot on my floor directly underneath it. Because the rope has some mass, the tension varies along the rope, from highest at the ...
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Invariance of Lagrange on addition of total time derivative of a function of coordiantes and time

My question is in reference to Landau's Vol. 1 Classical Mechanics. On Page 6, the starting paragraph of Article no. 4, these lines are given: If an inertial frame $К$ is moving with an ...
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How to prove that any rotation can be represented by 3 Euler angles

How can one prove that any rotation of a rigid object in 3-dimensional (3D) space can be represented by a sequence of three rotations around pre-fixed axes by 3 Euler angles? I see this statement in ...
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Find the minimum value of velocity [closed]

Find the minimum value of the initial velocity $u$ of the particle such that the particle crosses the wheel of radius $R$. Details and assumptions $R=2m$ $g=9.8m/s^2$ Neglect air resistance. All ...
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How did Feynman derive the physics of medallion vs. plate wobble rate?

I am referring to this: Within a week I was in the cafeteria and some guy, fooling around, throws a plate in the air. As the plate went up in the air I saw it wobble, and I noticed the red ...
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818 views

What are the properties of two bodies for their collision to be elastic?

For example, must the shock wave in each body be of a particular form which influences the shape and material properties of the bodies? I suspect part of the the answer is that the objects must be ...
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Spinning a rope when hanging, what is the curve? [duplicate]

Holding a rope from one end and spinning it. As shown in the picture, what will be the curve of it?
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The virial theorem and a delta function potential

So the virial theorem tells us that: $2\langle T\rangle = \langle \textbf{r}\cdot\nabla V\rangle$. Now I was wondering what would happen if V has te form: $V(\textbf{r}-\textbf{r}') = ...
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Mechanical similarity in Landau

I've read this very short paragraph from Landau & Lifshitz's Mechanics (Chap.2, Par.10) (that you can find here) about Mechanical similarity. I was looking for some more detailed explanations of ...
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Does a simple double pendulum have transients?

Suppose, we have the most simple double pendulum: Both masses are equal. Both limbs are equal. No friction. No driver. Arbitrary initial conditions (no restriction to low energies) Does this ...
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How could a cord withstand a force greater than its breaking strength?

How could a 100 N object be lowered from a roof using a cord with a breaking strength of 80 N without breaking the cord?? My attempt to answer this question is that we could use a counter weight. But ...
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What will happen if a plane trys to take off whilst on a treadmill?

So this has puzzled me for many a year... I still am no closer to coming to a conclusion, after many arguments that is. I don't think it can, others 100% think it will. If you have a plane trying to ...
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591 views

The other side of the lever

If I have a lever, but I can see only up to the hinge and not the other half, can I know whether the other half is 1 m long with a weight of 3 kg on it, or 3 m long with a weight of 1 kg on it?
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What sustains the rotation of earth's core (faster than surface)?

I recently read that the earth's core rotates faster than the surface. Well, firstly, it's easier to digest the concept of planetary bodies, stars, galaxies in rotation and/or orbital motion. But, ...
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Is the usually taught solution to forced harmonic motion just a special solution?

Let's say we have a mass on a spring being driven by a forcing function. Given hook's law, $F = -kx$, and a forcing function of $$F(t) = F_0\sin(\omega t) .$$ We can write: $$ m\frac{d^2x}{dt^2} = ...
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Classical Mechanics contradicts Conservation of energy?

Imagine a Stanford torus rotating with 1 rpm so that centripetal/reactive centrifugal acceleration provides about 1.0g of artificial gravitational acceleration inside the ring. The picture below shows ...
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Degree of freedom paradox for a rigid body

Suppose we consider a rigid body, which has $N$ particles. Then the number of degrees of freedom is $3N - (\mbox{# of constraints})$. As the distance between any two points in a rigid body is fixed, ...
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How is Liouville's theorem compatible with the Second Law?

The second law says that entropy can only increase, and entropy is proportional to phase space volume. But Liouville's theorem says that phase space volume is constant. Taken naively, this seems to ...
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Find the Hamiltonian given $\dot p$ and $\dot q$

I have these equations: $$\dot p=ap+bq,$$ $$\dot q=cp+dq,$$ and I have to find the conditions such as the equations are canonical. Then, I have to find the Hamiltonian $H$. To answer to the first ...
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Simple three-body-problem?

Consider the problem of three bodies two of which having mass M, one of them having mass m. Body m is in the middle between the other two, coupled to them by two equal linear springs in rest. Now fix ...
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Question about the apparent loophole in principle of least action

In Lagrangian formalism, given two points $(x_1,t_1)$ and $(x_2,t_2)$, we ask the question which paths $x(t)$ make the action $S=\displaystyle \int_{t_1}^{t_2}L\ \mathrm dt$ stationary and satisfy the ...
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Is there an inconsistency between Quantum and Classic in probability density of harmonic oscillator ground state?

Consider probability densities for a particle in the lowest energy state of a simple harmonic oscillator. The quantum mechanical probability density peaks near the equilibrium point and extends beyond ...
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Galilean, SE(3), Poincare groups - Central Extension

After having learnt that the Galilean (with its central extension) with an unitary operator $$ U = \sum_{i=1}^3\Big(\delta\theta_iL_i + \delta x_iP_i + \delta\lambda_iG_i +dtH\Big) + ...
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Is instantaneous velocity an abstraction?

In introductory analysis, the discussion the derivative emphasizes that while average rates of change are measurable, instantaneous rates of change are a "limiting abstraction". While this makes ...
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Invariance of Lagrangian in Noether's theorem

Often in textbooks Noether's theorem is stated with the assumption that the Lagrangian needs to be invariant $\delta L=0$. However, given a lagrangian $L$, we know that the Lagrangians $\alpha L$ ...
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Is it possible to determine the outcome of any impact knowing only the ratio of masses? [duplicate]

In elastic collisions in 2-D if two balls $A$, $B$ ($m_A = m_B$, $R = 1$) have equal mass we can determine in advance the outcome of the collision. If cue-ball $A$ impacts object-ball $B$ (at rest) ...
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Invariance, covariance and symmetry

Though often heard, often read, often felt being overused, I wonder what are the precise definitions of invariance and covariance. Could you please give me an example from quantum field theory? ...