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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I need help figuring out what is wrong in this aspiring perpetuum mobile

Credits: My question is motivated from a question from another user (One disk/ring in double rotation and sum of energy), I just reformulated what I think he tried to ask into, what seem to me, ...
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Does the uncertainity principle violate the law of conservation of energy?

What is the scientific view of the beginning of universe? Quantum fluctuation seems to contradict with the law of conservation of energy. Uncertainity Principle does seem to violate the Law of ...
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2answers
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Perfectly centered break of a perfectly aligned pool ball rack

Imagine the beginning of a game of pool, you have 16 balls, 15 of them in a triangle <| and 1 of them being the cue ball off to the left of that triangle. Imagine that the rack (the 15 balls in a ...
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2answers
666 views

Half wave plate and angular momentum

Given: A half wave plate freely floating in space. Circularly polarized light, falling perpendicularly to it. The plate changes polarisation of the beam to the opposite one. Therefore it ...
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5answers
136 views

Mass and Energy

Would the mass of burnt firewood be equal to the mass of firewood before burning? Then where does that heat come from? According to Einstein's equation, $E=mc^2$ Shouldn't there be some mass going ...
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405 views

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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2answers
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What causes destruction in car crash?

Suppose a car crashes at a speed $v$ against a wall and comes to a stop. Now if the car crashes at $2v$, does that mean it suffers twice as much destruction, if that can be objectively measured? If ...
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1answer
231 views

Does the concept of a wormhole violate the law of mass-energy conservation?

If my understanding of wormholes is correct, anything that moves into a wormhole can be transported from one region of space-time to another. Consider a situation where an object of mass $m$ in space ...
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5answers
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If I replace all my lights with LEDs will my heating costs increase?

A number of nations are passing bills to phase out incandescent light bulbs. The thinking is that the tungsten filament is an inefficient method of turning electricity into light, the rest of the ...
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1answer
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Lagrangian and conservation of energy

If Lagrangian of the motion is $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}m\left(a^2\dot\phi^2+a^2\dot\theta^2\sin^2\phi\right)+mga\cos\phi,$$ how can I show that total mechanical energy is conserved? I've read ...
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2answers
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Elastic collision and spring

Bodies $A$ and $B$ are moving in the same direction in a straight line with a constant velocities on a frictionless surface. The mass and the velocity of $A$ are $2 \text{kg}$ and $10 \text{m/s}$. ...
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Are information conservation and energy conservation related?

as evident from the title, are both, conservation of energy and conservation of information two sides of the same coin?? Is there something more to the hypothesis of hawking's radiation other than ...
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353 views

Conservation of Energy and Quantum Fluctuations

Regarding conservation of mass-energy Wikipedia says: "this is an exact law, or more precisely, has never been shown to be violated." However, regarding quantum fluctuations, Wikipedia says here: ...
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How is quantum tunneling possible?

How is quantum tunneling possible? According to quantum mechanics, each particle is represented by a probability density function. This function must be continuous, and therefore when we look at a ...
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2answers
224 views

curvature tensor component capable of doing work on $T_{\mu \nu}$

I'm wondering what part of the curvature tensor is able to do work (and hence transfer energy) in matter. I'm wondering if this tensor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress-energy-momentum_pseudotensor ...
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1answer
451 views

Speed of a falling pencil [closed]

If you balance a pencil of length $d$ on its tip, and let it fall, how do you compute the final velocity of its other end just before it touches the ground? (Assume the pencil is a uniform one ...
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3answers
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Where does the electricity, generated by a solar panel, go if you don't use the electricity?

I'm sorry if this question is too trivial for this Q&A forum. I am a layman when it comes to physics (though I did cover the high-school physics courses). I was wondering what happens to the ...
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1answer
178 views

How can a planet gravitationally capture objects?

I would expect that any asteroid or other object originating far away but passing near a planet would pick up speed and energy as it approaches, but unless it comes into contact with the atmosphere ...
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1answer
301 views

Numerical schemes, time integration algorithms and energy conservation

What does it mean when someone says a numerical scheme or a time integration algorithm is "energy conserving". How can a numerical scheme "gain" or "lose" or "conserve" energy apart from the numerical ...
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Can I take heat from the air and convert it to electricity?

Its a summer day and the air in my house has been heated up. I could switch on my air conditioning, but then I'd be using energy from the grid in order to reduce the amount of energy in my house. ...
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2answers
391 views

What is changing in latest light bulb technologies?

I'm confused with the latest home lightning bulbs. Understanding filament bulbs was easy. For example take 220V, 100W filament bulb: Power = $V^2/R$ Filament gets heated and emits energy in the form ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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3answers
254 views

Is energy conserved in general relativity? Does $\nabla_aT^{ab}=0$ represent the conservation of energy and momentum?

For example, the radiation dominated cosmology, the energy density of radiation is propotional to $a^{-4}$ and the volume is propotional to $a^3$, where $a$ is the scale factor. So the total energy ...
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2answers
276 views

Total Energy of the Universe? [duplicate]

I've heard the total energy is zero, but I've also heard it cannot be said to be zero since there's so much unknown stuff in the universe. Is that true?
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
204 views

computer vs heater coil comparison

If I have a computer and a heater coil that consume exactly the same amount of energy, which would be more efficient at heating my room? This is assuming that they both have the same fans and heat ...
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2answers
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First integral of an equation of motion: $\mu\ddot r=-\frac{k}{r^2}$

I've got an equation of motion (EOM), which is $ \mu\ddot r=-\frac{k}{r^2} $ How do I find the first integral of this EOM? I'd appreciate it if someone could show me the steps involved. I should ...
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1answer
82 views

Why don't virtual particles violate conservation of mass/energy?

If virtual particles sometimes add more mass/energy to a system then was inputed or comes out in the output, how do they not violate conservation of mass/energy.
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2answers
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Extra energy in quantum tunneling

In quantum tunneling, the probability of finding an electron inside the potential barrier is non zero (http://i.stack.imgur.com/v8Kr1.gif). So we can actually find an electron which had an energy E in ...
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3answers
238 views

Redshifted photons

When a photon is emitted from a far away source and then measured by an observer, there is a loss of energy or redshift which takes place. Why does this happen? I have read this similar post, however ...
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1answer
3k views

How to calculate calorie expidenture from lifting a weight?

Am I correct to say that when a human lifts a dumbbell from, say, 2 feet off the ground to 6 feet off the ground, he will have increased the potential energy of the weight and thus will have burned ...
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1answer
56 views

Is change in kinetic energy invariant?

Consider the inelastic collision between two bodies. This question follows on from this: Is the coefficient of restitution frame independent and energy conservation?. One of the answers to this ...
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3answers
92 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 ...
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How Long does it take for a roller coaster cart to reach point $x_1$? [closed]

Assume that we have a particle with weight m and initial speed v0, that follows a roller coaster path y(x). Assuming no energy loss to friction or air resistance, the total energy in the system is ...
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1answer
444 views

How do I recover the 1D wave equation from the Lagrangian?

Consider small displacements, $y(x,t)$, of an element of a string (circled in red and shown below) from equilibrium. The force balance in the vertical direction yields: $$+\uparrow \Sigma F: ...
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The “binding energy” of bonded particles adds mass?

This is a follow-up my previous question. Several of the answers indicated that the mass of a particle (atom, proton, etc.) increase with the "binding energy" of it's component particles - the energy ...
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1answer
65 views

How can a moving frame transmit energy (a fighter plane shoots a bullet)? [duplicate]

This question shows that a bullet shot from a flying plane receives a large amount of energy from the plane, even much more than the energy from the propellant of the bullet. But I wonder how can the ...
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1answer
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What happens to the energy of photons when two light waves with plane wavefront interferes destructively? [duplicate]

When I began learning about optical interference, I came to know about destructive interference in which light waves cancel each other. How the energy is still conserved ? I found that the ...
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5answers
662 views

Why is kinetic energy stored as potential energy in a body during its motion against gravity?

Everyone knows kinetic energy is converted to potential energy in the body when it moves up against the earth's opposing gravitational force. But I am facing some problem with this. What I learnt ...
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0answers
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Conservation of kinetic energy on a moving inertial frame

The velocity of an object differs from the point of views of two different inertial observers standing at two different frame of reference. Assuming no gravity and acceleration = 0 for the object and ...
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2answers
147 views

Conservative Forces & Conservation of Energy?

I'm trying to relate them, I'm trying to find the key relation that would show how the conservative forces serve conservation of energy. How would they relate? Also, how are non-conservative forces ...
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2answers
302 views

Energy Analysis of Niagara Falls in Linus Pauling's “General Chemistry”

I just started reading Linus Pauling's "General Chemistry" and the first example confuses me. He writes: Example 1-1. Niagara Falls (Horseshoe) is 160 feet high. How much warmer is the water at ...
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1answer
64 views

Integrating for speed [closed]

Trying to determine the speed of a falling body with respect to traveled distance and initial speed. I've been provided with the following equation for acceleration as a function of distance and the ...
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0answers
84 views

Adiabatic Expansion with expanding control volume

I have a tube with a length $L$ and diameter $d$ that is open on 1 side. At a certain point (say $x$) from the closed end of the tube, I have a gas with a high pressure. At this point, $x$, there is ...
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2answers
149 views

Perspective and changes in kinetic energy

Say you have two planes flying next to each other at the same speed and one decides to pick up speed by burning a tank of rocket fuel. If someone on the ground wanted to know that plane's new speed ...
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2answers
337 views

Energy of quarks and the mass of the proton

We know that energy of quarks inside the proton can not be exactly fixed because if it,the 'proton decay' must not be exist. My question is if the energy of quarks inside the proton is not exactly ...
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0answers
44 views

Determining impact velocity over long distances [duplicate]

Everything I have found concerning impact velocity from a given height deals with constant acceleration due to gravity. I would like to know how to work in varying acceleration into the equation. So, ...
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4answers
515 views

Does car lose kinetic energy when turning?

I am writing simple car simulation. Assume non friction, then in straight line the car doesn't lose speed. But what if the car is turning, there should be some kinetic energy loses to change the ...
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3answers
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Finding Distance an Object Travels Up an Incline After Launch

I've been doing a review for an introductory physics course final. I have a question on one problem though. Here is the problem: A mass (M=2kg) is placed in front of a spring with k=900N/m, ...
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How did the inflaton field “add” energy to the universe?

How did inflation add energy to the universe? What mechanism did this occur by? In other words, where did that energy come from? Was it due to the quantum fluctuation (or that scalar field rolling ...