The description of the movement of bodies by their position, velocity, acceleration (and possibly higher time derivatives, such as, jerk) without concern for the underlying dynamics/forces/causes.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

125
votes
17answers
32k views

Why does kinetic energy increase quadratically, not linearly, with speed?

As Wikipedia says: [...] the kinetic energy of a non-rotating object of mass $m$ traveling at a speed $v$ is $\frac{1}{2}mv^2$. Why does this not increase linearly with speed? Why does it take ...
13
votes
17answers
35k views

Recommendations for good Newtonian mechanics and kinematics books

What are some good books for learning the concepts of Kinematics, Newton laws, 2D Motion of Object etc.?
8
votes
6answers
6k views

Why are objects at rest in motion through spacetime at the speed of light?

I read that an object at rest has such a stupendous amount of energy, $E=mc^2$ because it's effectively in motion through space-time at the speed of light and it's traveling through the time dimension ...
8
votes
5answers
41k views

How to get distance when acceleration is not constant?

I have a background in calculus but don't really know anything about physics. Forgive me if this is a really basic question. The equation for distance of an accelerating object with constant ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Physics of simple collisions

I'm building a physics simulator for a graphics course, and so far I have it implementing gravitational and Coulomb forces. I want to add collisions next, but I'm not exactly sure how to go about ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Speed of a fly inside a car

A couple of weeks ago I was travelling in a car (120 km/h approximately) and I saw a fly flying in front of me (inside the car, near my nose, windows closed). I wonder how was that possible. Does it ...
19
votes
6answers
58k views

Is two cars colliding at 50mph the same as one car colliding into a wall at 100 mph?

I was watching a youtube video the other day where an economist said that he challenged his physics professor on this question back when he was in school. His professor said each scenario is the same, ...
15
votes
3answers
879 views

Why there is a $\frac{1}{2}$ in the distance formula $d=\frac{1}{2}at^2$?

I'm preparing for my exam, but I have difficulties in perceiving why there is a $\frac{1}{2}$ in the distance formula $d=\frac{1}{2}at^2$?
12
votes
11answers
52k views

How can momentum but not energy be conserved in an inelastic collision?

In inelastic collisions, kinetic energy changes, so the velocities of the objects also change. So how is momentum conserved in inelastic collisions?
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Should you run when under rain?

When it's raining, would you get less wet if you run or more wet? I think you will get less wet, because rain is coming down in a constant volume and if you run you will have a shorter amount of time ...
0
votes
2answers
479 views

Tangential acceleration in circular motion?

A lot of my problems have objects moving in circular paths with tangential and normal components of acceleration. If the tangential component is non-zero though, the speed is changing so the radius ...
8
votes
3answers
17k views

How can an object's instantaneous speed be zero and it's instantaneous acceleration be nonzero?

I'm studying for my upcoming physics course and ran across this concept - I'd love an explanation.
6
votes
7answers
1k views

Physical intuition for higher order derivatives

Could somebody give me an intuitive physical interpretation of higher order derivatives (from 2 and so on), that is not related to position - velocity - acceleration - jerk - etc?
43
votes
12answers
83k views

What is the difference between “kinematics” and “dynamics”?

I have noticed that authors in the literature sometimes divide characteristics of some phenomenon into "kinematics" and "dynamics". I first encountered this in Jackson's E&M book, where, in ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Galilean invariance of the Schrodinger equation

I am only asking this question so that I can write an answer myself with the content found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Likebox/Schrodinger#Galilean_invariance and here: http://en....
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Uniform Circular Motion

Why does the object not go inward, into the circle if the acceleration is inward? I think its because the velocity to outward? So they sort of cancel each other out? But if the speed is kept constant ...
1
vote
2answers
165 views

Elastic collision between two circles [duplicate]

I am trying to calculate the final velocities of two equal mass 2-dimensional circles after an elastic collision. I have tried to figure it out using formulas I know from high school physics, but ...
5
votes
5answers
552 views

Infinite series of derivatives of position when starting from rest

Suppose you have an object with zero for the value of all the derivatives of position. In order to get the object moving you would need to increase the value of the velocity from zero to some finite ...
2
votes
2answers
782 views

How do I adjust the kinematic equations to avoid reaching speeds faster than light?

I like some 'science' in my 'science fiction', so I started crunching out the kinematic equations for some of the scenarios my characters are getting involved in, and ran smack dab into an issue. (...
1
vote
2answers
11k views

How to prove that a motion is Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM)?

I would like to know how one could show and prove that a given motion is simple harmonic motion. Once given an answer, I'll apply that technique to an example I am trying to figure out. Thank you ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

What will be the relative speed of the fly? [duplicate]

It has happened many times and i have ignored it everytime. Yesterday it happened again . I was travelling in a train and saw a fly (insect) flying near my seat. Train was running at a speed of ...
3
votes
4answers
183 views

if a body is stopped by means other than friction, where does energy go?

Suppose we have an object in space. say gravity is negligible, and the thing has a rocket on both sides. the thing fires one rocket for, say, 5 seconds. now it's moving. The object has kinetic energy. ...
1
vote
2answers
977 views

Motion of a rod struck at one end

Imagine a strong metal rod of uniform density and thickness floating in a weightless environment. Imagine it lies on an X-Y plane, with one end (A) lying at 0,0, and the other end (B) at 0,1. Then it ...
3
votes
1answer
244 views

Is it possible to rotate an angle on perfectly smooth ice?

You must start and end with the same pose. Prove it if you think you can't.
3
votes
2answers
633 views

The Double Integrator: Matching velocity and position as quickly as possible with only a limited amount of force available

If a body with mass $m$ begins at position $x_0$ with velocity $v_0$ and experiences a force that varies as a function of time $f(t)$ (and we ignore gravity, friction, and everything else that might ...
2
votes
8answers
623 views

Why is there a universal speed limit?

I am looking for an answer that does not rely on Special or General Relativity -and without recourse to the fact that the speed of light is frame invariant. Is there another way of showing this ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Is squared motor gearbox ratio proportional to inertia ratio?

I read an interesting article http://m.machinedesign.com/news/motor-sizing-made-easy It is very interesting, but I can not follow the 2nd last paragraph. I don't understand why it is true. ...
1
vote
2answers
843 views

The dimensional formula of distance travelled in $n$th second

I read that the dimensional formula of distance traveled in $n^{th}$ second is same as that of velocity. Okay, the formula for the distance traveled in $n^{th}$ second is $s_t= u+\frac{a}{2}(2t-1)$ ...
45
votes
5answers
15k views

How effective is speeding?

At a simple level, speeding in a car attempts to minimize the time required to travel a distance by utilizing the basic relationship: $$d=st$$ So for a given distance, time should be inversely ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Integrating radial free fall in Newtonian gravity

I thought this would be a simple question, but I'm having trouble figuring it out. Not a homework assignment btw. I am a physics student and am just genuinely interested in physics problems involving ...
12
votes
4answers
33k views

Why does a ball bounce lower?

If a ball hits the floor after an acceleration then why does it bounces lower? I mean the Energy is passed to the floor then why does the floor give back less Energy?
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Static Friction - Only thing that can accelerate a train?

I'm a computer programmer that never studied physics in school and now it's coming back to bite me a bit in some of the stuff I'm being asked to program. I'm trying to self study some physics and I'...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a 2D generalization of the coefficient of restitution?

The coefficient of restitution characterizes a collision in one dimension by relating the initial and final speeds of the particles involved, $$C_R = -\frac{v_{2f} - v_{1f}}{v_{2i} - v_{1i}}$$ In a ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Zeno’s Paradox of the Arrow

Premises And the Conclusion of the Paradox: (1) When the arrow is in a place just its own size, it’s at rest. (2) At every moment of its flight, the arrow is in a place just its own size. (3) ...
3
votes
1answer
127 views

Non-deterministic particle system

This question is in the spirit of Norton's dome, an example of an apparently non-deterministic system in Newtonian mechanics. Under certain restrictions, the Picard–Lindelöf theorem guarantees the ...
3
votes
1answer
77k views

Solving for initial velocity required to launch a projectile to a given destination at a different height

I need to calculate the initial velocity required to launch a projectile at a given angle from point A to point B. The only force acting on the projectile after launch will be gravity – zero air ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Number of planks required to stop the bullet [closed]

A bullet looses (1/n)th of its velocity passing through one plank. The number of such planks that are required to stop the bullet can be? Logically, to me the answer seems to be infinity, as always a ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does light travel at the same speed when measured by a moving observer? [duplicate]

I know the hypothesis that the light speed is constant is retained by experiments. But is there any theory explaining why the light speed is constant no matter how an observer moves relative to light? ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Why is average velocity the midpoint of initial and final velocity under constant acceleration?

Since average velocity is defined as$^1$ $$\vec{\mathbf v}_\mathrm{av}=\frac{\vec{\mathbf x}-\vec{\mathbf x}_0}{t-t_0},$$ where $\vec{\mathbf x}$ denotes position, why is this quantity equal to $$\...
2
votes
1answer
671 views

Relative Speed vs speed of light [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Travelling faster than the speed of light Someting almost faster than light traveling on something else almost faster than light I've got two questions which are related ...
1
vote
1answer
259 views

Rigid Body Mechanics In a vacuum (no gravity) [closed]

I am writing a physics engine to map the rotary and translatory movements of a uniformly dense solid cylinder within 3d space. If a vectored thrust is applied to one end of the cylinder at an ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Why does a ping pong ball change direction when I spin it on a table?

When I spin a ping pong ball on the table, it rolls forward in the opposite direction of the spin, and then eventually changes direction and rolls backward. Here's a video demonstrating the effect. ...
4
votes
3answers
334 views

When can one write $a=v \cdot dv/dx$?

Referring to unidimensional motion, it is obvious that it doesn't always make sense to write the speed as a function of position. Seems to me that this is a necessary condition to derive formulas like:...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Kinematics with non constant acceleration

A particle experiences an acceleration described by $$ a=kx^{-2} $$ where x is the displacement from the origin and k is an arbitrary constant. To what value does the velocity v of the particle ...
34
votes
6answers
902 views

Motion described by $m \frac{\mathrm{d}^2 x}{\mathrm{d}t^2}=-k\frac{\mathrm{d}^{\frac12 }x}{\mathrm{d}t^{\frac12}}$

What kind of motion would a (preferably dimensionless for simplicity) body do if the force acted on it was proportional to the semi-derivative of displacement, i.e. $$m \frac{\mathrm{d}^2 x}{\mathrm{...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How does anything move? [duplicate]

So in order for two things $A$ and $B$ to move apart, for example, relative to each other, $B$ can be set into motion away from $A$. This means that we have to increase $B$'s velocity and therefore ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the highest energy position for a double pendulum? And for which energy positions is it chaotic?

Math/physics teachers love to break out the double pendulum as an example of chaotic motion that is very sensitive to initial conditions. I have some questions about specific properties: For a ...
5
votes
2answers
508 views

Does a tire need to slip to generate force?

Recently, I have been doing some research on racing and tire modelling. While I was doing this, I encountered many curves like those shown below. While I understand the need of slip angles to ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it possible to have a rate of change of acceleration?

I know this may seem a weird question, but it always bothers me. My physics book (Resnick,Halliday,Walker), and also various sites never say anything beyond acceleration. But when a moving body is ...
2
votes
2answers
329 views

Is uniform circular motion an SHM?

I know the projection along a diameter is an SHM but is circular motion itself an SHM? If we consider the mean position to be the center of the circle then the centripetal acceleration is proportional ...