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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Are there devices which convert thermal energy to electric energy?

Converting optical energy to electric energy is a huge business based on the photovoltaic effect. Is there an analogous effect for phonons? Are ther devices which convert phonon energy to electric ...
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Where do electrons get their ever-lasting circulating energy?

We all know (or maybe know) that to move, we need to spend energy. If you want to drive a car, you gotta spend gasoline. We also know that energy can't be created (first law of thermodynamics, and ...
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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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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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Kinetic energy puzzle

System S1 moves at constant speed V with respect to S0 in one dimension: ...
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Why doesn't this equation for orbital motion change with position in the orbit?

The question and answer are on pg.8-10 of this PDF: At first, I went through it, thinking nothing of it. But then, I wondered: "What if we picked a final state in which the space junk was NOT at ...
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Should the expression for energy conservation in alpha decay include the mass of electrons?

Let $M_P$, $M_d$, $m_\alpha$, $m_e$ and $Q$ the mass of the parent nucleus, daughter nucleus, alpha particle, electron and the disintegration energy, respectively. I understand that applying ...
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Vacuum energy and perpetual motion

The part of the Einstein equations of general relativity referred to vacuum energy, introduce a repulsive term in gravity. This means that as the space become bigger and bigger, vacuum part become ...
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Conservation of Momentum/Energy collision Problem

I'm working on a physics problem in preparation for the MCAT and there's this particular problem that's troubling me. I don't know if it's a bad question or if I'm not understanding some sort of ...
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Does the potential energy for a given photon increase or decrease in quanta?

As a photon leaves a strong gravitational field, it loses energy and redshifts. Is the exchange in potential energy of a photon characterized by energy quanta?
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Infinite reflection of light and the conservation of energy / momentum

First off, I confess I'm no physicist, but I have been asking people with a more extensive knowledge this one question, without a definitive answer so far. Basically, I'm playing around with the idea ...
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Conservation of Energy in Different Frames of Reference

Say I have a bucket of fuel that can produce 150J of energy by combustion. No matter what frame of reference an observer or the bucket of fuel is in, since the configuration of molecules stay the ...
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Would a thinner atmosphere (such as high altitude) yield better solar panel energy generation?

I am curious. If you were to put a solar panel up in high altitude or on the surface of the moon, both of which have much less atmosphere to reflect/refract light, would that solar panel produce more ...
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Energy conserved… or not? Confused!

I am confused. Could someone kindly explain what's going on in this question? A particle of mass $m$ and charge $e$ moves in the $x,y-$ plane. There is a constant magnetic field $B$ that points in ...
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Two-body problem questions

I am self studying the two body problem and I'm stuck on the following: I have given $$\ddot{\vec{x}}_1= - G m_2 \frac{\vec{x}_1-\vec{x}_2}{|\vec{x}_1-\vec{x}_2|^3}$$ and $$\ddot{\vec{x}}_2= - G ...
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Where do the conservation laws come from?

I know the conservation of energy comes from Noether's theorem via the time-translational symmetry, and if I remember correctly, the conservation of momentum comes from space-translational symmetry. ...
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If 100% of the energy from the sun is reflected back into space

100% of the energy from the sun is reflected back into space, it's just shifted from a low-entropy state to a high-entropy state, and from a high frequency (ultraviolet) to a low frequency (infrared). ...
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(Why) would unmaintained water heater use more electrical energy?

I'm specifically thinking about lime/sedimentation at the bottom of water heater, and calcification of heating elements (and not possible thermal insulation deterioration). It is very often claimed ...
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work done by tension

The problem statement, all variables and given/known data Consider the following arrangement: Calculate the work done by tension on 2kg block during its motion on circular track from point $A$ to ...
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what happens when I roll a gyroscope along its axis of spin

Say: I have a gyroscope that is spinning in the xy plane along the z axis. I then roll its spinning axis by some angle theta Now I know the gyroscope will resist my attempting to change its axis ...
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When work is performed solely by magnetism, is there an equivalent loss of energy from the magnetic field?

When two magnets are placed within appropriate proximity and released, the attractive force will perform work and bring them together. Work is performed overcoming friction. Can we measure a ...
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Is there a valid Lagrangian formulation for all classical systems?

Can one use the Lagrangian formalism for all classical systems, i.e. systems with a set of trajectories $\vec{x}_i(t)$ describing paths? On the wikipedia page of Lagrangian mechanics, there is an ...
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Do particles keep on emitting energy?

Accelerated electrons emit electromagnetic waves, but those at rest do not. So accelerated electrons emit energy and those at rest do not. (At rest hypothetically, I know it is not permissible ...
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Why is a washing machine unable to spin-dry a duvet?

Background story: I put my duvet (synthetic filling) into a washing machine, and the machine was unable to spin-dry it. My mom told me: "It's because it is full of air". I was not satisfied with the ...
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What is the energy conversion efficiency of a computation device like a modern CPU? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How efficient is a desktop computer? I believe the energy conversion efficiency of a modern CPU is extremely low, because it dissipates pretty much all of it as heat, ...
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Why doesn't fusion contradict the 1st law of thermodynamics?

I was reading up on the 1st law of thermodynamics for my Chemistry exam and I was wondering why doesn't fusion contradict the 1st law of thermodynamics? The 1st law states that The energy of an ...
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it is possible to extract energy from black holes or..satellites?

When something fall down, transform potential energy into kinetic one. furthermore you can attach a pulley and extract some energy (like in an aljibe) for example with a dynamo... if the object fall ...
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Is the law of conservation of energy still valid?

Is the law of conservation of energy still valid or have there been experiments showing that energy could be created or lost?
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Can a hybrid vehicle ever be more efficient than a hydrocarbon-only vehicle built with the same parts?

Based on the laws of thermodynamics, shouldn't it be theoretically impossible for a non plug-in hybrid vehicle to ever be more fuel-efficient than a vehicle that connects the same engine directly to ...
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Dominos vs. Conservation of Energy

In this video a single flick of a finger tips 116000 dominos. Domino video I understand the work that needs to be done to move 116000 pieces (at least 100 kilos) of plastic is greater then that ...
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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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Is there a mathematical derivation of potential energy that is *not* rooted in the conservation of energy?

For simplicity I'll consider only gravity, but in general this question only applies to conservative forces. As per my understanding, the way one gets to the equation for gravitational potential ...
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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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Does matter with negative mass exist?

Or does it exist mathematically? Is it really inconsistent with a common-sense, mathematics or known physical laws? As far as I understand, if it exists, it must be far away from the "positive" ...
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Why does salt on snow create Ice?

I think I kind of understand this process but I would like someone to explain it more completely. For those who aren't aware here is the scenario I'm talking about: As terrain maintenance at my ...
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Maximum permissible speed while going down a ramp

So, I was playing hill climb racing and I noticed that if we move with high speeds towards a ramp going down we just jump it off. While lower speeds, help us to stay in contact with the ramp. ...
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Gravitational Potential Energy (GPE) to Kinetic Energy (KE) transfer in Satellite Orbits

I am stumped by a mundane A Level Physics question (teacher of physics here obviously a bit short of practice!). My colleagues and I are stumped and were wondering if any one could help us. It ...
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How to understand Feynman's reasoning about perpetual motion?

I'm studying Feynman's Lectures on Physics, and I'm not really understanding his reasoning here: Consider weight-lifting machines $\overline{}$ machines which have the property that they lift one ...
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Can light be canceled by merging with an inverted wave?

Can light waves be canceled by merging them with their inverted waves? Seems like it would violate conservation of energy but waves are added together when they overlap, right? Where is the flaw in ...
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How do I approach this conservation of energy problem, symbolically

In the absence of nonconservative forces such as friction and air resistance, the total mechanical energy in a closed system is conserved. This is why that when I toss an object directly upwards, the ...
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Where does the energy come from when a current heats a wire (resistor)?

I'm trying to figure out an example from a textbook (Demtröder -- Experimentalphysik 2, pg. 198) where the energy transport caused by a current is depicted: Assume you have a wire (with some ...
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How much energy can be extracted from hydrogen?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-L says that the difference between baryon number and lepton number is conserved. Ordinary hydrogen has one of each, but turning it into helium releases only the binding ...
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Having trouble understanding the work energy principle intuitively

I'm having trouble understanding the work energy principle intuitively. This is what I'm solid on so far: If you have a ball rolling down a hill, it loses potential energy and gains kinetic energy. ...
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If you could reverse gravity, what velocity would you achieve on leaving Earth?

If you could reverse gravity, to make it repulsive instead of attractive, what velocity would you achieve on leaving Earth? A simple question really, but I have completely forgot how to calculate ...
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Why don't cancelling wavefunctions for two different particles give zero total wavefunction?

Let $\left|a\right>=e^{i(kx-\omega t)}$, $\left|b\right>=-e^{i(kx-\omega t)}$ be two neutral particles in the 1D free space without any interaction. Then ...
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Where does elastic potential energy go after it is released?

Say you have two objects colliding, and there is some elasticity between them. Some of the kinetic energy of the objects will change into elastic potential energy when they collide, but when they ...
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What will be the velocity of a comet is falling to the Earth from infinity at the time of impact if Earth had no atmosphere?

What will be the velocity of a comet is falling to the Earth from infinity at the time of impact if Earth had no atmosphere? the comet is falling radially towards the earth. Will this velocity be ...
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Where does the loss in gravitational energy of the load go when a spring is pulled?

A mass spring system is in equilibrium. If I pull on the load by $x$ meters, the energy stored in the spring is (this is what is given in my book): $$E=\frac12kx^2 $$ However, doesn't the load lose ...
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How does energy transfer between B and E in an EM standing wave?

I'm trying to understand how an electric field induces a magnetic field and vice versa, its associated energy, as well as relating it to my understanding of waves on a string. Using a standing wave ...
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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 ...