Tagged Questions

The law of conservation of energy, which states that the amount of energy in a system is constant. For questions about Earth's environment, see the climate-science tag instead.

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What is “W external” and “W internal” in Energy conservation law?

When I solve the energy conservation problem, I am confused when I have to make the term positive or negative. For example, someone throws a ball right up to the ground with velocity, $v$. The ball ...
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Why doesn't this perpetual motion machine work?

Imagine a non-magnetic tube bent into the shape of a triangle, with two sides forming downhill ramps, and the third side connecting the two ramps. Through this tube travels a metal ball, which is ...
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Momentum of capacitor in a uniform magnetic field

We are observing ideal, charged, parallel plate capacitor placed in uniform magnetic field parallel to plates. Whole system is at rest and isolated (we have forces that hold plates separated, but net ...
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Energy loss in the photoelectric effect

If a photon hits an electron with an energy that is less than the energy required to change the energy level of an electron, what happens to the energy of the photon (is it not absorbed and just pass ...
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Picturing Feynman's argument about perpetual motion

So, there is a certain paragraph in Fenyman's book that I'm struggling with for quite some time. It says: We imagine that there are two classes of machines, those that are not reversible, which ...
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A universe from nothing [duplicate]

The more time you spending in measuring your experiment (thus standard deviation will become smaller) the more precisely you will measure energy of this system.... energy time uncertainly principle ...
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Can conservation of momentum and conservation of energy explain every possible event in the Universe?

I heard my friend, a researcher, say that we can, in theory, explain every event happening in the universe using the Conservation of momentum and energy. He added that we may not be able to do that "...
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Perpetual Mobile and Gravitation

I have fundamental question about what is called the “law of conservation of energy”. We all hear about the tidal power stations which using the tidal power. The source of the tidal power came from ...
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Where does elastic energy come from?

I vaguely remember reading that the elastic potential energy of a spring, $\frac{1}{2} k x^2$ comes from mass which is turned into energy according to the law $E=mc^2$. I also remember hearing that ...
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How to prove the energy of gravity in general relativity is non-local?

Every textbook in general relativity containing the energy of gravity all says that the energy of gravity is non-local and every energy-momemtum density received is pseudo-tensor, but "having not ...
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Why does electron move closer to the nucleus when it emits light and not vice-versa?

The book tells me that electrons move more close to the nucleus when emission occurs and it moves far away from the nucleus when absorption occurs: why it's not vice-vers? As I understand, the ...
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Virtual particles/quantum tunneling - conservation of energy?

I'm confused as to how the above phenomena can take place since arent they breaking the law of conservation of energy (even, if temporarily)?
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How does escape velocity relate to energy and speed?

I have several confusions regarding escape velocity. I am sure I am missing something(s) obvious or maybe I am taught wrong. Lets say we throw an object of any mass at exactly escape velocity of ...
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Gravitational Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy

When a yo-yo is released from a height $h$, the gravitational potential energy is converted to kinetic energy. However, the yo-yo obviously has less acceleration than $g$, $9.8\frac{m}{s}$. This means ...
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As the universe expands, the wavelengths of photons are stretched, and energy is lost. What about electrons?

Will electrons, and other particles, also loose energy as they travel through the cosmos? They have wavelengths. Do they get "stretched"? My guess is that the EM force, somehow, counteracts this ...
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Conservation of momentum and energy in an explosion

One simple problem is physics is to determine the mechanical energy difference after an explosion. To do this, you must assume that momentum is conserved because in a explosion you have internal ...
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Conservation of energy in a different frame of reference

Consider a rollercoaster that goes down a slope: At the higher level it has speed $v_0$, then it goes down a slope and at the end it has speed $v_0 + \Delta v$. The carriage is not powered and has ...
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Why isn't jumping against a wall an elastic collision?

According to this calculator http://www.abecedarical.com/javascript/script_collision1d.html when low mass object hits high mass object it is reflected gaining opposite velocity almost the same as ...
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Interference and energy question here

So Im reading this material on interference and I noted the following sentence : During the interference of the light of two coherent light sources,the intensity of the radiation changes ...
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Action Reaction Pairs and Work

Say that a ball is sitting in front of a compressed spring launcher. The spring is then released. The spring applies a force on the ball for a certain distance. This force is accompanied by an equal ...
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Given the spring constant & maximum kinetic energy; length of spring extension? [closed]

I need to understand the following question before i right my exam tomorrow. A body attached to a spring with spring constant 100 N/m executes simple harmonic motion. The maximum kinetiv energy of ...
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How to model energy loss in a rotating body?

I recently asked a question about modeling instability in a rotating rigid body. I now realize that I was mentally confounding two different effects: The "Dzhanibekov effect" in which a rigid ...
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What does ${\bf F} = \frac{\mathrm{d}W}{\mathrm{d}{\bf x}}$ actually mean?

What does the formula $${\bf F} ~=~ \frac{\mathrm{d}W}{\mathrm{d}{\bf x}}$$ actually mean? Here $\mathrm{d}W$ is the work done in a small period, ${\bf F}$ is the force and $\mathrm{d}{\bf x}$ is a ...
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Black Hole mass increase from infalling body

When a body falls into a black hole, the black hole's mass increases. Does this mass increase depend only on the rest mass of the infalling object, or is it affected by the velocity of the infalling ...
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Defining axes for conservation of energy [closed]

Problem: A bungee-cord jumper is on a bridge that is $y_1$ above water level $y_2$. The bungee cord obeys Hooke's law with spring constant $k$ and has a relaxed length $L$ The jumper stops before ...
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Avoiding Pseudo-tensors when addressing global conservation of energy in GR

Discussions about global conservation of energy in GR often invoke the use of the stress-energy-momentum pseudo-tensor to offer up a sort of generalization of the concept of energy defined in a way ...
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Please explain the flaw in this picture [duplicate]

So I saw this picture on my google+ feed and I immediately know why it wont work. But I'm having trouble explaining to myself and others exactly why. Without using anything overly complex, can anyone ...
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When you measure position of an electron in a energy pure state, what happens to the energy?

When you measure the position of an electron that is in a pure energy state, what happens the energy becomes non-deterministic. That is future measurements of energy can only be predicted with respect ...
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When they say that the universe cooled after the big bang, where did the heat go?

Layman here, Stumbling through some physics stack posts and started reading the Wikipedia for the chronology of the big bang. In it, it states The very earliest universe was so hot, or energetic, ...