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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
1answer
1k views

A pendulum's rope swings and strikes a peg [closed]

So I have this problem, as far as I can tell I solved it correctly, and it's not equal to any of my answer choices. The problem is: A rope of length $L$ is attached at one end to a ceiling and at ...
69
votes
4answers
8k views

Where does the extra kinetic energy come from in a gravitational slingshot?

I read in this answer in this site that the KE a free-falling ball acquires is not originated by the attracting body but that energy was actually stored in the ball when it had been lifted to the ...
0
votes
1answer
508 views

If you spin a magnet in space, far from any magnet field, would it spin forever, being able to produce electricity forever?

This is of course a purely theoretical question and it would take energy to get the magnet moving in the first place but once it's moving in the vacuum of space, with no gravity or magnetic field ...
3
votes
4answers
16k views

Conservation of momentum but not kinetic energy in inelastic collisions

In inelastic collisions, the kinetic energy of the system is not conserved but the momentum is. Kinetic energy is: $0.5 \times \text{mass} \times \text{velocity}^2$. Momentum is: $\text{mass}\times\...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
129 views

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 ...
13
votes
1answer
438 views

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 ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
162 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
199 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
409 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
434 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
107 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Is the quantity $mv^{2}$ also conserved?

The following is my reasoning: Suppose $\vec{F}$ is a conservative force field. Then the total mechanical energy, $E$, of the isolated mechanical system is a conserved quantity which implies that $E=T+...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How do photons know they can or can't excite electrons in atoms?

This might be a stupid question, but nonetheless, it has been bothering me. If you take a photon, make it go through some atoms in a solid, liquid or whatever, then you have the chance of this photon ...
3
votes
4answers
403 views

Potential Energy Concept

Imagine a book that we lift it with a force that is exactly equal to the force of gravity so the forces cancel out and the book moves with a constant velocity. Consider the situation after the book ...
1
vote
1answer
179 views

Redshift of a reflected photon from a solar sail

Can someone help me understand my mistake here? I'm thinking of a photon travelling with momentum $p=h/\lambda$ which reflects off a solar sail of mass $m$ travelling with momentum $p_0$ in the same ...
2
votes
1answer
265 views

Finding direction of a ball after collision in cartesian coordinate system [closed]

In elastic collision of ball to wall along x axis m*Vix=m*Vfx as velocity of wall is 0 before and after collision thus Vix=Vfx ......eq(1) Kinetic Energy is conserved so m*Vi2 = m*Vf2 (Vix2 + Viy2)=...
3
votes
0answers
68 views

The universe could have created itself? [duplicate]

So in this Youtube video http://youtu.be/ZjaaSUHG7Xo The guy says, around 6:15, that the total energy of the universe is zero because of gravitational potential (or something like that i dont ...
6
votes
2answers
182 views

Does expanding space cost energy?

Does the cosmic inflation reduce the energy density (inversely) proportional to the volume, or does the inflation "cost" energy? Is space itself "something" created at the expense of energy?
0
votes
2answers
60 views

Determinate the right force intensity given a certain amount of energy to spend

I am using Chipmunk's physics engine to simulate 2D classical mechanics of solid polygons (excellent by the way!). The only way you can alter the spontaneous behaviour of the the simulated objects is ...
0
votes
1answer
216 views

Classical mechanics; gravitation question [closed]

There is a crater of depth $R/100$ on the surface of the moon (radius $R$). A projectile is fired vertically upward from the crater with a velocity, which is equal to the escape velocity from the ...
1
vote
2answers
109 views

Where does energy go when performing a useless effort?

I went to school one day, so I thought I was able to get this simple one.. but it looks like I'm not anymore. :( One lonely little spaceship is resting into space. It has a small fuel capacity that ...
4
votes
1answer
430 views

Sufficient conditions for the energy to be not conserved?

I'm almost embarrased to ask this question because I thought I was by now very confident with classical mechanics. Someone has stated that given a mechanical system with a Lagrangian $L$ s.t. $\frac{...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
101 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
272 views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

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, ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Calculate electricity generation

A friend of mine stays near a water stream and wanted help to use its water. The height up to which the water could be raised using the water flow is 12ft. How much electricity can it produce? Is it ...
3
votes
4answers
688 views

Is the principle of Conservation of Energy empirically verifiable?

Before I am inundated by myriad and vociferous claims that conservation of energy is the single most well-attested and experimentally verified principle in all of science, let me say that I am well ...
0
votes
2answers
161 views

Curious about this perpetuum concept

I know it's not possible to build a perpetual motion machine, but I still got this concept running in my mind. If you take a (longer)copper coil, and insert an axis through it(right-angled) with a ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views
4
votes
3answers
120 views

If empty space has energy, and space is expanding, is this energy equally distributed as space expands?

The cosmological constant (dark energy) is often described in terms of empty space having a non 0 energy value and this energy being the source of the accelerated expansion of the universe. If space ...
2
votes
1answer
293 views

Proof of the conservation of the energy functional for the Gross-Pitaevskii equation?

From the Gross-Pitaevskii equation \begin{equation}i\hbar\frac{\partial\psi}{\partial t}=\left(-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m}\nabla^2+V+g|\psi|^2\right)\psi\end{equation} using the variational relation \begin{...
1
vote
1answer
468 views

What factors indicates inelastic collision?

I am watching this example from Wikipedia: I am wondering what factors would indicate that the collision of 2 objects will be inelastic (I know macroscopic scale impacts are never perfectly ...
-2
votes
2answers
122 views

Energy carried by photon not conserved?

In an imaginary frame of reference traveling with a photon, the length of the path traveled is 0. If the length of the path is 0, isn't it similar to say that the photon is either at the source or at ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Why is the change in height for mass be $2h$ in this question? [closed]

Could anyone tell me why the height is $2h$?, and is the total gpe in a system where the masses are balanced 0?
5
votes
4answers
5k views

How to tell if the collision is elastic or inelastic?

I'm a programmer and a game developer, not a mathematician or a physicist. So please go easy on the math :) I know two things: How to find the new velocities of two objects after an elastic ...
1
vote
3answers
155 views

Why don't we consider electrostatic energy of the pair in the case of pair production?

I have seen this Wikipedia article and many others, but in none of them I find any mention of the electro-static energy of the generated pair. Why? I mean, the energy conservation should be written ...
2
votes
2answers
365 views

Poynting's Theorem simplified?

How can I apply Poynting's theorem to any system that has a magnetic field & electric field, to state conservation of energy? How does Poynting's theorem state conservation of energy in EM? I ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

Who of these cyclist travel takes less time? [closed]

There are two cyclist. They start off with equal velocity $v_0$. The first one bikes a straight path, while the other bikes through a valley, something like this: We assume friction doesn't affect ...
7
votes
4answers
693 views

Optimal speed for the water wheel

The hydroelectricity plants extract the potential energy of highly deployed massive object (water) as it falls down. Without turbine, all that energy would be converted into speed (kinetic energy) at ...
1
vote
1answer
206 views

Conservation of energy and the 'crazy ball' product

Well I'm not sure how many people remember the crazy ball - a small ball made of rubber which bounced like crazy. What I noticed is that the ball seemed to bounce higher than the point from which it ...
2
votes
2answers
767 views

Hamiltonian mechanics and conservation of energy?

Can anyone explain to me Hamiltonian mechanics relation to conservation of energy? I'm not very good at mathematics, and I know it's important into understanding Hamiltonian mechanics. However, can ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

Explanation of binding energy in decays

Everyone knows that the mass of a system is less than the mass of its components, with the equation: $M = \sum_i m_i - BE(M) $ Now, if we consider a general decay, lets say $A \rightarrow \sum_i ...
0
votes
1answer
137 views

Aside from Noether's theorem, what other concepts would explain energy conservation?

Energy is defined more in the mathematical sense, and tends to show true with observations in the physical world. But why is energy conserved aside from "Noether's theorem"? In a closed system that ...