In introductory mechanics, the momentum of a particle is its mass times its velocity. In electrodynamics, the momentum of a field is proportional to the cross-product of the electric field with the magnetic field. In special relativity, momentum is generalized to four-momentum.

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Lagrangian with vanishing conjugate momentum, independent variables

Given a Lagrangian density $\mathcal L(\phi_r,\partial_\mu\phi_r,\phi_n,\partial_\mu\phi_n)$, for which we find out that for some $\phi_n$ its conjugate momentum vanishes: ...
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Conservation of momentum in collision of two bodies

Suppose we have some ramp on wheels of mass $M$, standing on a frictionless surface. A cart of mass $m$ moves with a certain velocity $v$ towards the ramp. The cart moves up the ramp ...
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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?
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Deriving $F = ma$ - Newton's Second Law of Motion

Context: In my textbook it is given: 'momentum' short for 'linear momentum': Mass = $m$, momentum is $p=mv$. In time $\Delta t$, momentum changes by $\Delta p$, the rate of change of momentum is: ...
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283 views

What if exactly half the Earth's population jumped at one instant? + Secondary Question

I read somewhere that when you jump, the sole effect caused by your jump on the earth moves it about $10^{-18}m$ (I don't remember the figure exactly, but I think it was that). However - obviously ...
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Simple elastic collision

If a particle with mass $m$ collides with a wall at right angles, and the collision is perfectly elastic. The particle hits the wall at $v\ ms^{-1}$. There is no friction or gravity. So the particle ...
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924 views

Matter waves and de Broglie wave length

The wavelength of a particle of momentum p is calculated using De Broglie relation. The de Broglie relation was postulated for what is called a matter waves. Now according to the statistical ...
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2answers
340 views

Does trade affect Earth's rotation? [duplicate]

Every country is trading with other countries around the world, some more than others. I was wondering if there would be any change to the Earth's rotation because of the imbalance of trade between ...
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2answers
168 views

A thought on definition of momentum

Well, this is a simple, basic and I think even silly doubt. The first time I saw the definition of momentum as $p = mv$ I started to think why this is a good definition. So I've read the beginning of ...
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242 views

Explanation for classic mechanics puzzle

I'm trying to figure out a nice way to describe to a kid the physics behind these experiments: Assuming ideal conditions, we have a small boat with a sale, close to a lake's shore and a fan fixed on ...
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3answers
380 views

Train crash: are these situations alike? [duplicate]

I was just wondering... I believe that if a car travelling 50 miles per hour crashes into a wall, the result should be the same as crashing to another car also travelling 50 miles per hour (but in the ...
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2answers
119 views

Canonical momentum density vs. energy-momentum tensor

Suppose we have a scalar field $\varphi$ with Lagrangian $$ \mathcal{L} = \frac{1}{2} \kappa \left( \frac{\partial \varphi}{\partial x} \right)^2 + \frac{1}{2} \rho \left( \frac{\partial ...
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How does the solar sailing concept work?

Wikipedia describes solar sailing as a form of spacecraft propulsion using a combination of light and high speed ejected gasses from a star to push large ultra-thin mirrors to high speeds. I ...
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3k views

Small car colliding with large truck

A small car collides with a large truck. Why do both vehicles experience the same magnitude of force? Wouldn't the large vehicle experience less force than the small one?
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2answers
1k views

Do the physics in the FlyBoard video make sense?

If you haven't seen the video of the FlyBoard, please have a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd6C1vIyQ3w&feature=youtube_gdata_player Yes, it's amazing, but do the physics make sense or is ...
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147 views

Equilibrium that is not stable

Consider a system which is in an equilibrium state. Now, a small perturbation causes it to start oscillating about the equilibrium state, but over time, the momentum with which it overshoots the ...
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1answer
107 views

Changing Momentum

Okay, so I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this. Before looking at the answer, I worked the example and got the answer only because I used dimensional analysis to get me to the right ...
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2answers
114 views

How is the Principle of Conservation of Momentum proven using the Momentum-Impulse Principle?

Consider two particles moving in the same direction on the same line, $A$ and $B$, with mass $m_A$ and $m_B$, respectively. They also have velocies $u_A$ and $u_B$. They collide. After the collision A ...
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335 views

Do photons actually generate a slight kinetic force?

My question is even though photons have no (rest) mass, do they emit a external force due to EM radiation causing electrons to be excited and jump to higher energy shells which electrons have mass ...
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1answer
60 views

Energy/Momentum required to deflect earth from its orbit

This question occurred to me when thinking about the firepower people have on earth. How hard is it to change the characteristics of the orbit of the earth when an explosion happens on its surface, ...
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1answer
132 views

Why positronium can annihilate in vacuum?

I thought that the annihilation process of positronium cannot take place without a third-party particle. This can be directly derived from energy & momentum conservation: energy conservation: ...
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2answers
551 views

Calculating angular velocity after collision

Suppose I have a disc which doesn't move, just rotate around the axis going through its centre of mass perpendicular to its surface. The disk has a stick perpendicular to its surface at the edge. I ...
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1answer
455 views

Can the velocity of the center of mass of two spheres change after a collision?

I'm curious as to whether or not the velocity of the center of mass of a system comprised of two spheres can change after the two spheres collide. Looking at the equation for the velocity of the ...
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1answer
308 views

Quantum mechanical analogue of conjugate momentum

In classical mechanics, we define the concept of canonical momentum conjugate to a given generalised position coordinate. This quantity is the partial derivative of the Lagrangian of the system, with ...
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128 views

Does spacetime have momentum?

In what sense can it be said that spacetime possesses momentum? Can an experiment be envisaged to test this question?
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1answer
805 views

Elastic collision in two dimensions

Suppose a particle with mass $m_1$ and speed $v_{1i}$ undergoes an elastic collision with stationary particle of mass $m_2$. After the collision, particle of mass $m_1$ moves with speed $v_{1f}$ in a ...
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211 views

Mass Shell in Light Cone Coordinates

I'm reading Zweibach's introduction to string theory, and don't understand one of his claims. He defined the mass shell to be the set of points in momentum space s.t. $p^2+m^2 = 0$. Then the physical ...
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222 views

Should any theory of physics respect the principle of conservation of angular momentum or linear momentum?

Is it possible that a theory that can describe the universe at the planck scale can violate things that we now consider fundamental in nature?For example can it violate rotational and translational ...
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67 views

In the Dirac equation, do $\alpha$ and $p$ commute?

The Dirac Hamiltonian is given as $H = \vec \alpha·\vec pc + \beta mc^2$ , Do the alpha and beta operators commute with the momentum operator? If yes then how?
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1answer
60 views

Relativistic fomulae for energy and momentum?

I know that the relativistic formulae for energy and momentum are: $E = \gamma mc^2$ and $\textbf{p} = \gamma m\textbf{v}$; Can we derive these formulae? If yes, where from?
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Is the canonical momentum conserved when a particle moves in magnetic field?

Here is a question about the canonical momentum that I had asked some days ago, but I still have one point that I am not understand. Considering a particle moves in a magnetic field with charge $q$ ...
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3answers
350 views

Steady isothermal flow of an ideal gas

So I have a steady isothermal flow of an ideal gas through a smooth duct (no frictional losses) and need to compute the mass flow rate (per unit area) as a function of pressures at any two different ...
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2answers
539 views

Conservation of momentum when friction is present

Conservation of momentum applies when net force is zero. Suppose that there is a system of a canon and a canonball. Total momentum of the system is zero before canonball is fired. Now canonball is ...
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1answer
553 views

Heavy vs Light Particle Ideal Gases

Assume there are two ideal gases. The first is made of a light particle, and the second is made of a heavy particle. The two are of the same amount, in the same volume container, and at the same ...
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406 views

General relativity and the conservation of momentum

I'm trying to understand the conservation of momentum in general relativity. Due to the curvature of space-time by matters and energy, the path of a linear motion appears to be distorted. Therefore ...
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280 views

Movement of man and ladder and their center of mass

Suppose there is a massless frictionless pulley. A rope over it carries a mass $M$ and on other side carries a ladder of mass $(M-m)$ and a man on that ladder, of mass $m$. Now the man starts ...
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237 views

Relativistic kinematics of particle decay

Suppose a particle decays to three other particles. The masses of all particles are assumed to be known and we work in the rest frame of the parent particle. So there are 12 parameters for this ...
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1answer
1k views

Finding force exerted in an Inelastic Collision

I did a lab today in Physics in which we launched ball from a spring loaded cannon directly into a pendulum that captured the ball, held it, and swung upwards with it (representing a totally inelastic ...
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1answer
359 views

momentum conservation question involving a rocket and a spaceship [closed]

With the engines off a space ship is cruising at a velocity of 230m.s It fires a rocket straight ahead at the enememy vessel. The mass of the rocket is 1300kg and the mas of the ship (not including ...
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1answer
889 views

Converting angular velocity to linear velocity through friction

A very basic question here; it's related to this one, but not quite the same. If a rotating rigid body (a sphere for the sake of discussion) with mass $m$, radius $r$ and inertial tensor $I$ has ...
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1answer
473 views

What is the linear momentum of an EM wave in a medium?

In free space, the linear momentum density of an EM wave is given by the Poynting vector $\vec S$ over the speed of light squared, $\vec g=\frac{\vec S}{c^2}$. In a medium, $S$ is generally not ...
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Interpretation of Conjugate Momentum in Field Theory

The conjugate momentum density, following as a conserved quantity with Noethers Theorem, from invariance under displacement of the field itself, i.e. $\Phi \rightarrow \Phi'=\Phi + \epsilon$, is given ...
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90 views

If photons don't have mass, how can they accelerate objects? [duplicate]

As far as I know photons don't have mass but they do have momentum ($p=mv$). Scientists say that if we put a shiny (reflective) shield of large radius in the vacuum of space, then light from sun will ...
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48 views

Hidden momentum

I'm trying to learn about hidden momentum. After reading what I could find with a google search, I understand that it is equal to the momentum carried by radiation, calculated with the Poynting ...
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1answer
92 views

Momentum paradox [duplicate]

A cistern rail car is standing on infinitely slippery ice. The cistern is filled with water and it has an outlet in the form of a thin vertical pipe (spout) at the left end, so when the valve is open ...
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Early stages of a computational model for object movement charting

We would like to build a computational model capable of accurately predicting the position of any object inside a chamber at any given time. Inside the model we would have a number of smaller ...
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370 views

kinetic energy in collisions [closed]

We were hoping you could help us understand collision energy. Vehicle $ A $ is driving West at $35\space mph$ and weighs $ 1437 \space kg$. Vehicle $ B $ is driving North at $35\space mph$ and weighs ...
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135 views

Why don't we substitute for $p$ in $E = pc$?

See, the energy of a photon is given out by $E = pc = hv$ why don't we substitute for $p$ in $E ^2= p^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4$ by putting $p = \gamma mv$ and then get a value for $m$ (which will be $0$ for a ...
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What does it mean if a body has kinetic energy?

What does it mean if a body has kinetic energy? Does it mean that the momentum vectors of each particle of that body has the same direction? What about angular momentum?
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A spinning bullet

I know the rifling in a gun or rifle puts a spin on the bullet along the axis of trajectory. Now I don’t understand exactly what does it make the trajectory more stable and the travel grater?