This tag is for the classical concept of forces, i.e. the quantities causing an acceleration of a body. It expands to the strong/electroweak force only insofar as they act comparable to ‘classical’ forces. Use [tag:particle-physics] for decay channels due to forces and [tag:newtonian-mechanics] or ...

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80
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8answers
12k views

Why does a helium filled ballon move forward in a car when the car is accelerating?

I noticed that when I had a helium filled, latex ballon inside of my car, it moved forward in the cabin as I accelerated forward. The faster I accelerated forward, the faster the ballon went from the ...
62
votes
7answers
5k views

Does juggling balls reduce the total weight of the juggler and balls?

A friend offered me a brain teaser to which the solution involves a $195$ pound man juggling two $3$-pound balls to traverse a bridge having a maximum capacity of only $200$ pounds. He explained that ...
39
votes
4answers
7k views

How do bicycle spokes work?

As you know, it is quite obvious that Bicycle spokes attach the hub in the centre to the rim. What else do they do? If you compare the wheels today with the ones from ancient times, there are more ...
39
votes
6answers
6k views

Pouring water in an aircraft while upside down?

What is the physics behind the following photo? Someone had told me that this is because the aircraft might be moving towards a lower altitude, but I am still not sure.
36
votes
6answers
19k views

With Newton's third law, why are things capable of moving?

I've got a rather humiliating question considering newton's third law "If an object A exterts a force on object B, then object B exerts an equal but opposite force on object A" -> $F_1=-F_2$ ...
35
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is the Moon considered the major cause of tides, even though it is weaker than the Sun?

You have likely read in books that tides are mainly caused by the Moon. When the Moon is high in the sky, it pulls the water on the Earth upward and a high-tide happens. There is some similar effect ...
33
votes
13answers
3k views

Where does the extra force generated by a lever come from?

Given an object being pulled down to earth by a force of 1000 lb: If a machine were to lift it off the ground for me, and I grabbed on to the rope before it was released, there is no way in the world ...
27
votes
8answers
13k views

How exactly does curved space-time describe the force of gravity?

I understand that people explain (in layman's terms at least) that the presence of mass "warps" space-time geometry, and this causes gravity. I have also of course heard the analogy of a blanket or ...
26
votes
6answers
10k views

Is there an equation for the strong nuclear force?

The equation describing the force due to gravity is $$F = G \frac{m_1 m_2}{r^2}.$$ Similarly the force due to the electrostatic force is $$F = k \frac{q_1 q_2}{r^2}.$$ Is there a similar equation ...
26
votes
5answers
3k views

Why isn't Higgs coupling considered a fifth fundamental force?

When I first learned about the four fundamental forces of nature, I assumed that they were just the only four kind of interactions there were. But after learning a little field theory, there are many ...
25
votes
1answer
1k views

Is gecko-like friction Coulombic? What is the highest known Coulombic $\mu_s$ for any combination of surfaces?

Materials with large coefficients of static friction would be cool and useful. Rubber on rough surfaces typically has $\mu_s\sim1-2$. When people talk about examples with very high friction, often ...
24
votes
4answers
2k views

The physical definition of work seems paradoxical

So this is possibly a misunderstanding of the meaning of work, but all the Physics texts, sites, and wiki that I've read don't clear this up for me: In the simplest case with the simplest statement, ...
20
votes
16answers
7k views

Doesn't a box holding a vacuum weigh the same as a box full of air?

This was recently brought up, and I haven't been able to conclude a solid answer. Let's say we have two identical boxes (A and ...
20
votes
7answers
3k views

The best way in which a man can pull a train

I have chosen this example as a paradoxical limit, but my question really regards the optimization, distribution and outcome of force when you try to pull a weight: how can you optimize your ...
19
votes
5answers
4k views

Is this scene from the A Team explainable by Physics?

This scene (youtube link) from the movie The A-team, the four members are in the tank and its falling from the air, they fire the canon and it slows the tank from falling for a moment before falling ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Why doesn't a fly fall off the wall?

Pretty simple question, but not an obvious answer at least not to me. I mean you can't just place a dead fly on the wall and expect it to stay there, he will fall off due to gravity. At first I ...
19
votes
5answers
4k views

Why are a motorcycle's front brakes more effective than back?

I've noticed that when I apply the front brakes on my bike it stops quite quickly. If I apply the back brakes at the same speed, it skids rather than stopping quickly. Why?
19
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do whips hurt so much?

What exactly is the mechanism that makes a whip deliver such a strong impact? Elasticity, torque, or pressure? Just hitting something with a plank doesn't deal nearly as much damage. What's the ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do ships lean to the outside, but boats lean to the inside of a turn?

Small vessels generally lean into a turn, whereas big vessels lean out. Why do ships lean to the outside, but boats lean to the inside of a turn? For example, a boat leaning into a turn: ...
19
votes
6answers
2k views

Why do we still need to think of gravity as a force?

Firstly I think shades of this question have appeared elsewhere (like here, or here). Hopefully mine is a slightly different take on it. If I'm just being thick please correct me. We always hear ...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

Conservation of momentum when rain pours into a wagon

Suppose a wagon is moving at constant velocity on a friction-less surface, and rain begins to fill the wagon. The net force on the wagon is zero, so momentum is conserved; as the mass of the wagon ...
18
votes
7answers
6k views

What does it mean to say “Gravity is the weakest of the forces”?

I can understand that on small scales (within an atom/molecule), the other forces are much stronger, but on larger scales, it seems that gravity is a far stronger force; e.g. planets are held to the ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

How is gravity consistent when you split an object into multiple pieces?

Here's the picture: In picture 1: Assume that we have 2 objects, namely A, and B. Object A with mass $2M$, and object B with mass $m$; and their distance is $r$. Then the gravitational force of A ...
18
votes
1answer
541 views

What determines the speed of waves in water?

While I was walking my dog this morning, I passed over a canal filled with boats, barges, and kayaks all of different masses and moving at different speeds. I noticed that all of these vessels left ...
18
votes
5answers
668 views

Particles for all forces: how do they know where to go, and what to avoid?

Here's an intuitive problem which I can't get around, can someone please explain it? Consider a proton P and an electron E moving through the electromagnetic field (or other particles for other ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

How do crocodiles jump?

In a video (Here), I saw crocodiles jump vertically about three meters without using any solid surface. The wonderful thing is that when they start to jump, their vertical velocity is approximately ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

How can we move an object with zero velocity?

Consider there is a box of mass $m$ at rest on the floor. Most books give an example that we need to do a work of $mgh$ to lift the box $h$ upward. If we analyze this work done, the external force ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Explanation for this type of (magic-trick) suspension? [closed]

Well let's start off with that I'm not a physicist but I'd like some thoughts on something I came across in my hometown. This guy: Is it possible that due to the electrical charge of magnets this ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Why can't Humans run any faster?

If you wanted to at least semi-realistically model the key components of Human running, what are the factors that determine the top running speed of an individual? The primary things to consider would ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Did the researchers at Fermilab find a fifth force?

Please consider the publication Invariant Mass Distribution of Jet Pairs Produced in Association with a W boson in $p\bar{p}$ Collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 1.96$ TeV by the CDF-Collaboration, ...
15
votes
2answers
440 views

Why do speed skaters use their right hand to accelerate?

I was watching the speed skating event, and was wondering, why do the athletes use their right hand while accelerating? If they want to increase the moment of inertia, then they should move the hand ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

Are there forces which do not involve a change in momentum?

I am familiar with the equation $$\vec{F}=m \vec{a}$$ I am wondering as to whether it is possible for something to exert a force on another object without changing the momentum of said object. My ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Force as change in momentum vs. change in velocity

Is there ever a situation where the distinction between $F = m \frac{dv}{dt}$ and $F = \frac{dp}{dt}$ is important? I can't think of a situation where one is true and not the other (assuming only ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the EmDrive, or “Relativity Drive” possible?

In 2006, New Scientist magazine published an article titled Relativity drive: The end of wings and wheels1 [1] about the EmDrive [Wikipedia] which stirred up a fair degree of controversy and some ...
13
votes
3answers
365 views

Why are all force particles bosons?

All of the force-particles in the standard model are bosons, now my question is pretty short, namely: Why are all force particles bosons? This can't be a coincidence.
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Are Newton's “laws” of motion laws or definitions of force and mass?

If you consider them as laws, then there must be independent definitions of force and mass but I don't think there's such definitions. If you consider them as definitions, then why are they still ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Is Pauli-repulsion a “force” that is completely separate from the 4 fundamental forces?

You can have two electrons that experience each other's force by the exchange of photons (i.e. the electromagnetic force). Yet if you compress them really strongly, the electromagnetic interaction ...
12
votes
7answers
2k views

Why do we fall down when the bicycle slows down? [duplicate]

My question is: It is easy to balance a bicycle when it is moving at a fairly high velocity, say 7 m/s or 25 km/hr. But when a bicycle slows down, it is hard to keep it upright, and the person riding ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Helicopter in an Elevator

You buy one of those remote control toy helicopters. You bring it into an elevator. The elevator goes up. Does the helicopter hit the floor or does the floor of the elevator push the air up into the ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

Does an athlete's proficiency at luge depend on his mass?

I was watching the men's luge ride with my dad. My dad said, the mass of the athlete must be at an optimum level so that he wins. I said, his volume should be minimum, but it has nothing to do with ...
12
votes
1answer
840 views

Do modern Formula One cars produce enough down-force to drive upside-down?

For example, if they were driving at top speed through a long tunnel, could they transition to and stay on the ceiling?
12
votes
4answers
1k views

How to sail downwind faster than the wind?

Recently a group set a record for sailing a wind-powered land vehicle directly down wind, and a speed faster than wind speed. Wikipedia has a page talking about it, but it doesn't explain exactly how ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Why $F=ma$ and not $F=m\dot{a}$?

What would happen if instead of $F=m*d^2x/dt^2$, we had $F=m*d^3x/dt^3$ or higher? Intuitively, I have always seen a justification for $\sim 1/r^2$ forces as the "forces being divided equally over ...
11
votes
14answers
4k views

Is Newton's third law always correct?

Newton's third law states that every force has an equal and opposite reaction. But this doesn't seem like the case in the following scenario: For example, a person punches a wall and the wall breaks. ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Origin of electric charge

Baryons have charges that are the result of a polynomial calculation of their building blocks (quarks)'s fractional charges. But what gives these quarks electric charges? What interactions do they ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
321 views

Is force a contravariant vector or a covariant vector (or either)?

I don't understand whether something physical, like velocity for example, has a single correct classification as either a contravariant vector or a covariant vector. I have seen texts indicate that ...
11
votes
2answers
337 views

Is force a “real thing”, or a tool for explaining changes in measurable phenomena?

My physics text says that force is "an interaction between two bodies or a body and its environment." When an object undergoes acceleration we explain it with a force. But we don't measure force, ...
10
votes
9answers
13k views

What's the core difference between the electric and magnetic forces?

I require only a simple answer. One sentence is enough... (It's for high school physics)
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Calculating the force required to lift a weight with a screw

I am trying to learn physics by myself as I do not have a good teacher at school. I've been reading Feynman Lectures on Physics and I can't figure out how he found out this number. Here is an excerpt ...