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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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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1answer
39 views

Which inertial observer should I choose when using $\Delta U = -\Delta K$?

I just read and undertood that For any conservative force $F$ (which is not necessarily constant), we can define a potential energy change $\Delta U$ of an object on which the force exerts as ...
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Conservation of Mathematical Constraints when deriving Energy and Momentum from $F=ma$

Background: Starting from $F = ma$, integrating with respect to time, and using basic calc, one can derive $\int Fdt = m (v_f - v_i)$ Starting from $F = ma$, integrating with respect to distance, ...
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1answer
33 views

Energy Imparted by a Magnetic Field

My question is probably a bit low-brow for this forum, but here goes. As I understand it, when you switch on an electromagnet it generates a magnetic field which pervades all space, imparting ...
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2answers
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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
931 views

A two-level system absorbs a detuned photon. Where does the extra energy go?

Let's consider simple two-level system with frequency gap of $\omega_0$ between ground and excited state. Now, when we turn on external electromagnetic field with frequency $\omega < \omega_0$, ...
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4answers
95 views

Virtual particles/quantum tunneling - conservation of energy?

I'm confused as to how the above phenomena can take place since arent they breaking the law of conservation of energy (even, if temporarily)?
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4answers
118 views

Kinetic energy vs. momentum?

As simple as this question might seem, I failed to intuitively answer it. Let's assume there is a $10,000$ $kg$ truck moving at $1$ $m/s$, so its momentum and KE are: $p=10,000$ $kg.m/s$ and ...
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6answers
216 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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3answers
274 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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1answer
60 views

The Law of Conservation of Energy and Time

The Law of Conservation of Energy essentially states that in a given closed system, the total energy at any instance of time should be equal. This includes the kinetic energy, gravitational potential ...
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3answers
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Is the total energy of the universe constant?

If total energy is conserved just transformed and never newly created, is there a sum of all energies that is constant? Why is it probably not that easy?
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1answer
489 views

How do I show the fractional change in Kinetic Energy in a completely inelastic collision?

Given the formula $$\frac{{\Delta}(KE)}{KE_i}=\frac{(KE_f-KE_i)}{KE_i}=\frac{-M}{(m+M)}$$ Now I know these that the conservation of momentum is always applicable. Also I understand that ...
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1answer
84 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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4answers
329 views

Potential Energy Concept

Imagine a book that we lift it with a force that is exactly equal to the force of gravity so the forces cancel out and the book moves with a constant velocity. Consider the situation after the book ...
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3answers
54 views

Can Thermal Energy be converted into usable energy?

I'm going to go out on a limb and ask a question that will probably be a bit humiliating: Can Thermal Energy be converted into usable energy? I've been reading about conservation of energy, and I know ...
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1answer
59 views

Why wouldn't a room temperature superconductor violate the laws of physics?

I understand that the laws of physics (as we know them) cannot be violated, but what I would like to know is what I'm missing, because I know there is some explanation that I'm not accounting for. ...
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2answers
183 views

What's wrong with my derivation for the spring constant? [duplicate]

An $8.00\ \mathrm{kg}$ stone at rest on a spring. The spring is compressed $10.0\ \mathrm{cm}$ by the stone. What is the spring constant? I used conservation of energy to solve this problem. The ...
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3answers
377 views

Conservation of Angular Momentum, as related to a flywheel

Trying to work out some pesky flywheel dynamics for a project I'm working on, would love some for your assistance to better understand the underlying concepts. For a given flywheel (thin-walled ...
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0answers
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Perpetual Mobile and Gravitation

I have fundamental question about what is called the “law of conservation of energy”. We all hear about the tidal power stations which using the tidal power. The source of the tidal power came from ...
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0answers
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Conservation of energy with the change of observers

While trying to analyze a collision of two bodies, while considering the energy loss, I made this equation: $1/2m_1u_1^2 + 1/2m_2u_2^2 = 1/2m_1v_1^2 + 1/2m_2v_2^2 - W$ where $u_1$ and $u_2$ are the ...
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2answers
39 views

In a CMCS 2-body system, why does the speed of the particles after collision stay the same?

A particle $m_1$ is traveling with velocity $v$ toward a stationary particle $m_2$. The velocity of the center of mass is given as $v_c=\frac{m_1}{m_1+m_2}v$. Changing to a moving coordinate system, ...
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4answers
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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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5answers
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How was the formula for kinetic energy found, and who found it?

My questions mostly concern the history of physics. Who found the formula for kinetic energy $E_k =\frac{1}{2}mv^{2}$ and how was this formula actually discovered? I've recently watched Leonard ...
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3answers
64 views

Finding maximum height of projectile motion using potential/kinetic energy

I'm having some difficulty understanding how to find the maximum height using conservation of force. This is the picture I'm looking at: and this is how you find it: $$\begin{align*} ...
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1answer
49 views

making an equation dimensionless

I have a balance of energy equation as following (for a spherical particle that colliding with a spherical fluid droplet) Left hand side is for before collision and RHS for after that: ...
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Is the normal force a conservative force?

Most of the time the normal force doesn't do any work because it's perpendicular to the direction of motion but if it does do work, would it be conservative or non-conservative? For example, consider ...
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0answers
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Energy of a system

I'm considering a ring of mass $m$ sliding along a cardioid with equation $r=a(1+\cos\theta)$. We let the angle between the downward vertical and the radius vector be $\theta$. The ring is attached to ...
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2answers
2k views

Finding max height of a mass launched by a spring?

I have the following problem on my homework. The actual problem has numbers, but I figure using symbolic notation will help me understand the concept in the long run. A block of mass $M$ is launched ...
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2answers
60 views

Question relating to energy transfer in between two particles

How would I go about calculating the maximum kinetic energy transferred from one particle when it forms an elastic collision with another particle. For example, if I had two billiards one with mass m ...
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3answers
426 views

Conservation of momentum but not kinetic energy in inelastic collisions

In inelastic collisions, the kinetic energy of the system is not conserved but the momentum is. Kinetic energy is: $0.5 \times \text{mass} \times \text{velocity}^2$. Momentum is: ...
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1answer
26 views

Understanding the energy transffered/used from a power source?

A source of power(from a generator,battery,etc...) is used to power a system of any kind. We can calculate the energy used via this formula $E$ = $IV$ x $t$ ? For example, a battery that is connected ...
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2answers
68 views

Change of kinetic energy in a two particle collision

A problem I am working on proceeds as follows: A billiard ball of mass $M$ is initially at rest on a horizontal frictionless table. Another ball of mass $m < M$ and velocity $\mathbf{v}$ in ...
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1answer
155 views

Sufficient conditions for the energy to be not conserved?

I'm almost embarrased to ask this question because I thought I was by now very confident with classical mechanics. Someone has stated that given a mechanical system with a Lagrangian $L$ s.t. ...
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1answer
27 views

How to convert translational energy to rotational energy [closed]

Suppose that I have a body moving at certain velocity in straight line. So it has translational energy. I want to convert this energy to rotational energy of another body, by making the velocity of ...
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1answer
65 views

Help with equations for deflecting an asteroid

This is a homework assignment, but not the physics part. I have to write a python script to simulate the size of a warhead required to deflect an asteroid (parameters inputted by user) that is on a ...
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4answers
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Kinetic energy with respect to different reference frames

I'm having problems understanding the following situation. Suppose two 1-tonne cars are going with the same orientations but opposite senses, each 50 km/h with respect to the road. Then the total ...
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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
274 views

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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1answer
64 views

Conservation of momentum and energy in an explosion

One simple problem is physics is to determine the mechanical energy difference after an explosion. To do this, you must assume that momentum is conserved because in a explosion you have internal ...
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2answers
113 views

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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1answer
60 views

Spherical wave amplitude near to source

Let us assume, I generate spherical waves from a point source, of the form $f(t)=\sin(t)$. At $r$ distance, it will be $\sin(t)/r$. Let us take $r = 0.1$ for example. Then, at this distance, the ...
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0answers
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What is “W external” and “W internal” in Energy conservation law?

When I solve the energy conservation problem, I am confused when I have to make the term positive or negative. For example, someone throws a ball right up to the ground with velocity, $v$. The ball ...
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4answers
2k views

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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5answers
254 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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1answer
116 views

Poynting's Theorem simplified?

How can I apply Poynting's theorem to any system that has a magnetic field & electric field, to state conservation of energy? How does Poynting's theorem state conservation of energy in EM? I ...
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0answers
50 views

Momentum of capacitor in a uniform magnetic field

We are observing ideal, charged, parallel plate capacitor placed in uniform magnetic field parallel to plates. Whole system is at rest and isolated (we have forces that hold plates separated, but net ...
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7answers
1k views

If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into?

If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into? When the big bang happened where did it occur? When the big bang happened how did it occur? Where did the energy come from? Energy can not ...
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1answer
35 views

Energy loss in the photoelectric effect

If a photon hits an electron with an energy that is less than the energy required to change the energy level of an electron, what happens to the energy of the photon (is it not absorbed and just pass ...
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1answer
69 views

A universe from nothing [duplicate]

The more time you spending in measuring your experiment (thus standard deviation will become smaller) the more precisely you will measure energy of this system.... energy time uncertainly principle ...