# Tagged Questions

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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### Why do people say that 'power flows' into or out of a component in an electric circuit?

Currently, I am learning about electric circuits, and how to apply the basic concepts of physics, like work and energy. But I keep running into the same phrase--on Wikipedia, my textbooks, ...
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### Are all heaters exactly as energy efficient as each other?

I many applications, efficiency is measured in terms of how much of the input energy is wasted generating heat instead of the actual type of energy you want. For example, lightbulbs generating heat ...
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### Free fall in non-uniform field

Imagine I'm a space-diver, with mass $m_1$, 500 miles above the Earth's surface at $x_i$. I want to calculate my position, velocity, and acceleration as a function of time, accounting for the Earth's ...
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### Expansion of the Universe and Conservation of Energy [duplicate]

How the expansion of the universe doesn't violate the principle of the conservation of energy? If we would put a spring between two objects, the distance would get bigger between them, so would the ...
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### Collision time of two particles [duplicate]

The question I am trying to answer is the following. Consider two particles of mass $m_1,m_2$, initially at rest at a distance $2a$ apart. They are attracted to each other via Newton's law with ...
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### How does the uncertainty principle relate to quantum fluctuations?

I found a webpage that just kind of mentions the uncertainty principle lightly but doesn't really go into detail as to why we need it in the first place when considering quantum fluctuations and ...
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### Where does the energy go when engine braking?

If you're in gear in a car and not accelerating, the car slows down faster than it would from just air resistance and tire deformation. In normal braking, the energy is turned into heat from the brake ...
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### Where does the energy of a photon trying to escape a black hole go?

I've heard "light cannot escape a black hole" explained several ways. One is that if a photon inside the event horizon tries to escape a black hole it loses energy to gravity. As it loses energy its ...
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### Why does positive work done by internal conservative forces $\implies$ decrease of potential energy?

Potential energy can be thought as the amount of work that the force can potentially do on the point because of its position. $$W=-\Delta U=U_{initial}-U_{final}$$ A positive work done by a force ...
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### Conservation of energy in a sound wave

I have two ultrasonic transducers, an emitter and a receiver, and I'd like to know how the energy of the spherical wave is conserved. I guess the energy is proportional to its amplitude and it ...
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### Why can't an ocean liner be powered by an engine that takes heat from the ocean water and eject ice cubes?

The following excerpt comes from the physics textbook Understanding Physics, by David Cassidy, Gerald Holton, and James Rutherford: A ball lying on the floor will not somehow gather energy from ...
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### If I spinned a fan in a vacuum it will keep spinning forever. Why can we not make energy out of it? [duplicate]

Suppose we created a vacuum and spinned a turbine inside it with some amount of force. According to newton's second law it will keep spinning as there is no air resistance, so why can we not make ...
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### Can $E=mc^2$ be derived from the Minkowski spacetime metric? $s^2=x^2+y^2+z^2-(ct)^2$?

Can $E=mc^2$ be derived from the Minkowski spacetime metric? $s^2=x^2+y^2+z^2-(ct)^2$? If so, how? Can the equivalence of mass and energy be derived from the Minkowski spacetime metric? Has someone ...
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### 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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### Why is Kinetic Energy = (-) Total Energy and Potential Energy = 2 $\times$ Total Energy?

I came across this relation while reading on the Bohr atomic model. Are there any other forces for which these relations hold good?
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### Spheres collide with merry-go-round [closed]

Four spheres, with uniform densities $\rho_1, \rho_2, \rho_3, \rho_4$ and radii $r_1, r_2, r_3, r_4$, respectively, roll without slipping with constant velocities $v_1, v_2, v_3, v_4$ along tracks ...
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### Energy Conservation in Kinetic Power Plants [duplicate]

Quite recently the company Rosch has developed a new kind of power plant that supposedly utilizes the buoyancy effect to generate electricity. The apparatus consists of a vertical conveyor belt with ...
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### Nuclear Fission and Fusion [duplicate]

I've read several other answers on here, but I still don't understand. Why do both fission and fusion release energy? I know the masses drop, but then why do the masses drop on both? Fusion is taking ...
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### 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 ...
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### When should gravitational potential energy be included in the law of conservation of energy

I have a problem that says: A block of mass 0.249 kg is placed on top of a light, vertical spring of force constant 4 975 N/m and pushed downward so that the spring is compressed by 0.090 m. ...
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### Work done by friction on a body?

I know that when a body slides over a surface, the work done by friction is not stored as potential energy in the body. It is dissipated in the form of heat. But why is it not stored as potential ...
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### Interference of light waves question

We were recently asked to solve a question in class which goes as follows: In a modified Young's double slit experiment, a monochromatic uniform and parallel light beam of wavelength $6000$ ...
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### How do I derive the formula of coefficient of restitution?

I have learnt in collision mechanics about the term Coefficient of restitution, $\mathrm{e=\frac{v_{2f}-v_{1f}}{v_{1i}-v_{2i}}}$. But the sad part is that, in my book only the formula is there. My ...
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### How does conservation of energy work?

I understand that the law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change from one form to another. This means that the total energy before a certain ...
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### Max theoretical efficiency of a weight powering a car [closed]

Say we had a 700 gram car. There is a 2 kg weight on a launcher that is supposed to power it. What is the maximum theoretical speed it takes to travel 8 meters? Its a little hard to describe so ...
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### Current on both sides of a capacitor

When a capacitor is connected to a DC circuit, what ensures that the current on both sides of the capacitor is the same? When charges arrive at one end of the capacitor they stop moving; presumably ...
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### Find the Energy release in this Nuclear Reaction (Fission)

Plutonium undergoes nuclear fission according to the equation below: The value of $x=3$. The question is to estimate the energy released in this reaction. I know the Binding Energy per nucleon ...
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### Intensity of interfering light waves

I had a conceptual question above light wave interference. Suppose that two light beams, each of an irradiance $I$ interfering on an area $A$ of a screen, such that all of the light from each beam ...
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### 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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### Why does mechanical energy have to equal zero to find escape velocity?

A object orbiting the earth has total mechanical energy equal to \begin{align*} E^{mech} = \frac{1}{2} m v^2 - \frac{GMm}{r} \end{align*} with $M$ the mass of the earth and $r$ the distance. My course ...
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### why laser beams don't get reflected (or knocked away) when they intersect with each other?

laser beams are photons with the same frequency and the same direction, but according to the wave-particle duality, photons have mass. but if we shoot two masses and they intersect at some point ...
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### How is energy conserved in a Crookes tube?

In a Crookes tube electrons are accelerated by an electric field and gain kinetic energy. If the electric field is provided by a capacitor the capacitor would be discharged by the anode current when ...
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### How is energy converted when massless spring is attached to a rigid support

Say a massless spring of length l is attached to a rigid support. It is extended to length l + x. Now at this position, the ...
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### Why current loses its energy?

Can someone explain or give a link to explanation why current looses its energy? For example in simple circuit with lamp. I understand that the energy is spent for heating and lighting. But how ...
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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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### Does the dynamical Casimir effect generation of real photons create energy from nothing?

The experiments reported in recent years demonstrating the creation of real photon pairs from the vacuum via the dynamical Casimir effect have made me wonder if this process demonstrates the creation ...
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### first law of thermodynamics and conservation of energy

The first law of thermodynamics is referred to as a reformulation of the law of conservation of energy. I am not sure to fully understand this relationship. My way of picturing it is the following. ...
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### Work-energy theorem for a system

While studying energy conservation on Morin I found this explanation about the work-energy theorem for a system. The work–energy theorem stated before is relevant to one particle. What if we are ...
Consider a trolley of mass $m$ moving at a velocity $v$ along a smooth horizontal plane. It is full of water, and water is leaking at a constant rate out of the bottom of the trolley, i.e ...