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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Potential and Kinetic Energy

In engineering school you learn the basic swing problem. Essentially that there is a transfer of kinetic energy (as seen in the velocity at the bottom of as swing) to potential energy at the top of ...
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Collision of 2 particles - calculating the mass and a speed after the collision

Lets say we have a particle of mass $m_1$ which has a kinetic energy $W_{k1}$. This particle collides with another same particle. How can i calculate mass $m_2$ and the speed $v_2$ of the particle ...
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Relation between work, kinetic energy and potential energy

We derived two equations in class. The work done between two points $A$, $B$ is equal to the difference between the kinetic energy at the last point and the one at the first point. The work done ...
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Are there any other mechanisms that can make virtual particles 'real' other than Hawking Radiation and Universe Births?

As I understand it, if virtual particles do not recombine within the plank time they become 'real'. This is proposed to happen in Hawking Radiation, where one virtual particle crosses the black ...
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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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114 views

Is there a difference between, static loading and fast loading of a polymer (non linear elastic material) in terms of elastic potential generated?

Imagine a non-linear elastic material such as a rubber band, nylon webbing or polyester webbing tensioned between two points. Scenario 1: A large mass is statically (no acceleration) loaded onto the ...
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156 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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160 views

What can be known about the formulas for energy only from the fact that it is conserved?

The question is to figure out how the energy can be derived knowing just one thing: There is a quantity called Energy that is conserved over time. The goal is to get an equation that somehow ...
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626 views

Intuitive meaning of factor 2 in formula of vertical throw max height $h=v^2/2g$

This is a question about a simple thing. The simplified expression for maximum height in vertical throw is $h=\frac{v^2}{2g}$ , could anyone explain intuitively (analogies are welcome) why there is a ...
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3answers
606 views

force applied not on the center of mass

When applying a force outside of the center of mass of the body, the body will get both linear and angular momentum. Right? Does the linear velocity from this force equal to the linear velocity from ...
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2answers
305 views

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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1answer
119 views

Is a particle subject to dissipation proportional to its velocity a Hamiltonian system?

Why or why not? I'm pretty sure that this isn't a Hamiltonian system because it involves a dissipation term, but using the Hamiltonian flow it gives me that the system is Hamiltonian.
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Short-duration forces

In circular motion, it is said that the centripetal force acts only for a very very short period of time, hence is able to only change the direction but not magnitude of the velocity. Similarly in a ...
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Conservation of energy issue with pair creation/annihilation

Question: what is the energy balance in this situation? (Fig A) Two gamma rays collided and produced an electron/positron pair $(e-/e+)$. (Fig B) 1. because all particles are accelerating ...
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Salisbury Screens and Energy Conservation

From Wikipedia on how a Salisbury Screen works: 1. When the radar wave strikes the front surface of the dielectric, it is split into two waves. 2. One wave is reflected from the glossy ...
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1answer
87 views

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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2answers
316 views

Kinetic energy of two charged balls at infinite distance between them

If I have two balls with masses and charges $m_1, q_1^{+}$, $m_2, q_2^{+}$, initially held at distance $d$, and then released, how can I know the kinetic energies of each of the balls at infinite ...
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3answers
229 views

Two dimensional elastic collisions with varying angle of incident

If in an elastic collision I know all initial values and that mass for each object remains constant throughout the collision (but different from one another) how can I determine their final velocity ...
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3answers
223 views

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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230 views

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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1answer
245 views

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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1answer
208 views

Energy conservation in nuclear reactions and radiactive decay

Reading "Fundamentals of Nuclear Physics" by Atam P. Arya, I understand that in a nuclear reaction, let say $x+X \to y+Y$ meaning that "when a particle $x$ strikes a target nucleus $X$, the outcome of ...
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510 views

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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2answers
893 views

Stopping distance of two objects with equal Kinetic Energy

I'm working on a problem regarding two objects with the same kinetic energy. Two objects with masses of $m_1$ and $m_2$ have the same kinetic energy are both moving to the right. The same constant ...
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6answers
798 views

Electrostatic Potential Energy Derivation

How is the boxed step , physically as well as mathematically justified and correct ? Source:Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_potential_energy As work done = $- \Delta U $. for Conservative ...
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355 views

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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1answer
97 views

How fast will I get if I burn a comet? [closed]

Assuming I have a spacecraft which is $30,000\,\mathrm{kg}$ (roughly the size of the Apollo spacecraft). If I take a comet and (theoretically) electrolize it perfectly to hydrogen and oxygen. I know ...
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158 views

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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125 views

Is resilience a measure of power expended upon unloading?

I read the definition of 'elasticity' and 'resilience on Wikipedia: Elasticity is a property of materials which return to their original shape after they are deformed. Resilience is the ...
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1answer
140 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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9answers
5k views

What makes running so much less energy-efficient than bicycling?

Most people can ride 10 km on their bike. However, running 10 km is a lot harder to do. Why? According to the law of conservation of energy, bicycling should be more intensive because you have to ...
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48 views

About electrostatic potential energy

I consider an electron (charge $-e$) in $x=0$ and a constant electric field $E(x) \equiv E $. If the electron has initial velocity $v_0$ with the same direction of $E$, then its potential energy is $$ ...
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How do you find (initial) velocity using conservation of energy?

Without mass; only time, distance, and height is given. For example: For this lab, the reference level was 100cm above ground therefore the height of the object was 10cm. I determined time and ...
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97 views

What Speed Would an object need to leave the earth at to reach L1? [closed]

Let's say the Earth is an airless sphere. What speed would an object weighing 1 kg need to leave the surface at in order to get to and be motionless at L1, where the Moon's gravity becomes stronger ...
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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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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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Gravitational potential energy

Consider two places next to each other: Place 1, where there is a gravitational field whereas Place 2 - there's no field. Now if we lifted a box in place 1, it gains potential energy. Then, we move ...
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1answer
1k views

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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1answer
240 views

The relation between Hamiltonian and Energy

I know Hamiltonian can be energy and be a constant of motion if and only if: Lagrangian be time-independent, potential be independent of velocity, coordinate be time independent. Otherwise ...
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287 views

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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Need help with relativistic dynamics

I understand the concept, but I'm having a hard time applying the consequences of conservation (energy/momentum). For example: A proton with kinetic energy 437 MeV hits a proton at rest elastically ...
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How do I find the force from drop shock using material properties?

I am dropping a cylindrical cast iron bar with a know elastic modulus and poisson's ratio, $E_{1}$ and $v_{1}$, onto a flat beam of elastic modulus, $E_{2}$ and $v_{2}$ so there is tangential drop ...
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How much money does an unused but plugged-in cellphone-charger waste in a year, if its not getting warm?

Is it right as xkcd states: You can use heat flow to come up with simple rule of thumb: If an unused charger isn’t warm to the touch, it’s using less than a penny of electricity a day. Or, more ...
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534 views

How Uncertainty Principle, Vacumm fluctuations and Energy Conservation coexist in QFT?

Recently I had a debate about the uncertainty principle in QFT that made me even more confused.. Because we use Furrier transforms in QFT we should have an analogue to the usual Heisenberg ...
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7answers
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Why cannot we store light in form of light?

We can store cold (ice),heat (i.e. hot water bag) and electrical charge (batteries). We can even "store" a magnetic field in a magnete. We can convert light into energy and then, if we want, back to ...
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1answer
689 views

Work being done without distance

I have this issue: If you push a 40.0 kg crate at a constant speed of 1.40 m/s across a horizontal floor (µk=0.25 ), at what rate (a) is work being done on the crate by you and (b) is the energy ...
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801 views

Finding maximum speed in a work-energy problem

I have the following problem: The Royal Gorge bridge over the Arkansas River is $310\text{ m}$ above the river. A $57\text{ kg}$ bungee jumper has an elastic cord with an unstressed length of ...
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143 views

When moving something by entrainment in a fluid stream, where does the energy come from?

The particular Something I had in mind here would be air bubbles that are pulled downwards against their buoyancy by a stream of water falling down a shaft. The work required to push those bubbles ...
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How to get the new direction of 2 disks colliding?

I'm developing a 2D game including collisions between many disks. I would like to know how I can get the angle corresponding to the new direction of each disk. For every disk I have this information ...
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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 ...