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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Mass converted to energy in a common fire?

In a common wood fire such as a campfire, is matter converted to energy or is it simply an exothermic chemical reaction and all the mass can be accounted for in the ash and soot?
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Energy conservation without action principle?

The normal tagline for energy conservation is that it's a conserved quantity associated to time-translation invariance. I understand how this works for theories coming from a Lagrangian, and that this ...
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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?
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Force as gradient of scalar potential energy

My text book reads If a particle is acted upon by the forces which are conservative; that is, if the forces are derivable from a scalar potential energy function in manner $ F=-\nabla V $. I ...
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Do magnets redshift light?

Do magnets redshift light? Suppose we have an extremely powerful magnet (say the size of the Sun) and we have a smaller paramagnetic material above it (say. Titanium Brick which is ...
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278 views

Bremsstrahlung vs energy conservation

From Wikipedia: Bremsstrahlung is electromagnetic radiation produced by the deceleration of a charged particle when deflected by another charged particle, typically an electron by an atomic ...
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476 views

Conservation of energy in a non-linear oscillator

I have a homework question about a "non-linear oscillator". I actually have an answer to this question, but the answer I get is stronger than what is needed according to the question. The question ...
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Why can't a superconductor make a DC motor self sustaining?

Superconducting wire can host a low current magnetic field. I do not know if it supports a corresponding electrical field. Can a superconducting wire that sustains a current accelerate a DC motor? ...
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If conservation of energy was wrong, how would we know about it?

Suppose you just started learning physics and you've been introduced to conservation of energy and kinetic energy. Apart from those concepts you know next to nothing. Then you observe an inelastic ...
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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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558 views

Does unitarity imply conservation of energy?

Not too long ago, someone began to discuss the thinking and motivation behind the Lagrangian and its formalism for the Newtonian framework and an intuitive understanding of such formalism. Somehow, it ...
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Proof of conservation of energy?

How is it proved to be always true? It's a fundamental principle in Physics, that is based on all of our currents observations of multiple systems in the universe, is it always true to all systems? ...
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Energy not conserved with accleration by a constant force

Suppose I have an object with mass $m$ in vacuum that I propel by applying a constant force, $F$, on it, with a rocket engine that I supply a constant amount of energy, $\frac{\delta ...
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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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Energy Gain with capacitor?

I have a question about energy gain in capacitors. Assume the following system: As the electron gets accelerated inside the capacitor, it will have more kinetic energy coming out than going in. But ...
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Does the stress-energy tensor contain the equations of motion?

Derivatives $\nabla_i T^{ik}=0$ of a stress-energy tensor of physical system express conservation laws. Whether contains a stress-energy tensor also the information on the equations of motion of ...
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How to understand the work-energy theorem?

How to understand the work-energy theorem? I took a short lecture on physics for engineering last week. The lecturer emphasized that the work done on an object will cause the kinetic energy change as ...
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Relationship between height and velocity in conservation of mechnical energy

I'm a high school physics student, and we recently did a lab on the conservation of energy where we measured the speed of a marble at varying heights on a rollercoaster track. We were supposed to ...
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525 views

Energy conservation of Virtual Particles - Quantum Fluctuation?

I (as a middle-school student) was wondering how virtual particles even conserve energy of the entire system? I don't mean just the particle's energy, but conservation with respect to the ...
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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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Recovering energy from a modern, magnetic-levitated flywheel

A modern flywheel rotor is suspended in a vacuum by magnetic bearings. This means that nothing touches the rotor as it spins. When time comes that we need to recover that stored kinetic energy, how do ...
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472 views

Is any energy required to deflect an asteroid, with force always perpendicular to its trajectory?

Let's assume there is an asteroid traveling on a straight line (far from any gravitational source), and we need to deflect it from its actual trajectory, so we build a rocket motor on the surface and ...
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Capillary action and conservation of energy [duplicate]

When I dip a paper towel in a cup of water the water gets drawn up due to capillary action. How is this reconciled with conservation of energy, as it would seem on the surface that the potential ...
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Does the mass lost by merging black holes depend on how they merged?

We've all heard the news about the detection by gravitational waves of two black holes, one 29 solar masses and the other 36 solar masses, spiraling into each other to create a single black hole of 62 ...
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What would happen if energy was conserved but phase space volume wasn't? (and vice-versa)

I'm trying to understand the relationship between the two conservation laws. As I understand, Liouville's result is a weaker condition: it relies merely on the particular form assumed by Hamilton's ...
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What is the result of a classical collision between THREE point particles at the same precise instant?

Classical Mechanics is said to be deterministic, a statement that nearly always is followed by that quote from Laplace, something like If at one time, one knew the positions and velocities of all ...
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Conservation Laws in Photon Parametric Down-Conversion

As Wikipedia explains, one photon passing through a crystal sometimes down-converts to two photons. Wikipedia says total energy and momentum are conserved by just considering the three photon states; ...
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How can a Higgs decay to heavier products than its mass?

How is it possible that a higgs at ~125 GeV can decay into 2 W bosons @ ~ 80 GeV a piece (for example)? Shouldn't a particle only be allowed to decay to lighter particles + energy? Diagram copied ...
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Do all forms of energy fall under kinetic and potential energy?

I know that energy is recognized through motion. Even in the mass-energy equivalence a velocity is present even though it is a rest-energy (Not really sure if this would count as a potential energy ...
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Maximum reading after dropping a mass onto a scale

If one drops an object onto a scale, the needle will temporarily spike to a high reading. Given a mass $m$ dropped from a height $h$ above a spring scale, is there a good way to approximate what the ...
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How can we explain the difference in change of kinetic energy, due to different frames of reference?

Imagine a ball ($m= 1\,{\rm kg}$) moving at a velocity $2\,{\rm m}/{\rm s}$ towards a wall. When it hits the wall, it suddenly stops, thereby liberating all its ${\rm KE}$ as heat. Here, the initial ...
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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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411 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 ...
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1answer
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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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Conservation of energy in quantum teleportation

Consider the quantum state teleportation protocol of Bennett et. al. How does one prove that this protocol would never violate the conservation of energy? At the face of it, it doesn't seem to be ...
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Lorentz invariance, energy-momentum conservation & the locality of interactions

I have been reading these notes ("Minkowski Spacetime: A Hundred Years Later", by Vesselin Petkov) 1, in which the author states (in the middle of the text on page 137) that "The only Lorentz ...
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387 views

Conservation of energy when focusing black body radiation on another black body

This question about whether or not it is possible to focus black-body radiation to make something hotter than the radiation's source was answered mostly negative: the second law of thermodynamics ...
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A paradox to Lenz's law

I have read that in simple words, Lenz's law states that: The direction of current induced in a conductor is in such a fashion, that it opposes its cause. This validates law of conservation of ...
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Where does the energy go in a rocket when no work is done?

While playing Kerbal Space Program, I wondered where my chemical energy would go when fired at 90° to the motion. It would do no work on the rocket, but all that energy has to go somewhere, right? ...
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A confusion regarding an example in The Feynman Lectures

In The Feynman Lectures, In the chapter entitled Work and potential energy, Feynman states: The work done in going around any path in a gravitational field is zero. This is a very remarkable ...
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What happens to gravitational waves after arbitrarily long propagation?

Given that some systems may radiate energy in the form of gravity waves, and that gravitational waves weaken proportionally to the distance travelled, what would happen to the waves that never hit ...
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Energy Conservation Law validity

I will probably be laughed out of town for saying this, but why can't the Energy Conservation Law be broken? Everybody thought electricity to motion was impossible until Faraday made his motor, ...
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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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Does car have more kinetic energy when turning?

I asked this Phys.SE question Does car lose kinetic energy when turning? Assume a car turning without losing its speed by holding to a point by a rope. IMO, while the car is turning, its kinetic ...
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Poynting's theorem - energy conservation

Poynting's theorem: $$\int_V\left(\vec{E}\cdot\vec{J}\right)\,\mathrm dV = -\dfrac{\partial}{\partial t}\int_V\dfrac{1}{2}\left(\epsilon_0 E^2 + \dfrac{1}{\mu_0}B^2\right)\,\mathrm dV - ...
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How efficient is the human body?

This question sort of comes to mind when hearing how efficient an internal combustion engine is turning chemical energy in mechanical energy (something like 20-40%) with lots of excess heat. As an ...
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Do photons lose energy due to gravitational redshift? If so, where does the lost energy go? [duplicate]

In the gravitational redshift, the frequency of photons radiated from some source is reduced. As the energy of a photon is given by $\hbar\omega$, if the frequency is reduced where is the lost energy? ...
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674 views

How gently could a comet/asteroid/meteorite “hit” Earth?

Could an object from outer-space with the right velocity and orbit come into contact with the surface of our planet in a manner that wouldn't cause it to burn in our atmosphere?
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What happens to a photon when it enters a black hole?

The photon has a mass of 0, but it has energy because of its motion. When it is sucked into the black hole and becomes a singularity, it loses its energy because it is no longer moving. It is not ...