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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Elastic collision of point particle and rod

A 1 meter long rod on the ice with mass $m_2=1$ kg is perpendicularly hit on one end by a point particle with mass $m_1=0.1$ kg. The collision is elastic and the point particle is bounced back in ...
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44 views

Calculating a spacecraft's deflection angle [closed]

There is a spacecraft with mass $M_1$ moving in a certain trajectory with a constant speed $V_r$. To modify its trajectory, a engine is turned on and starts ejecting gas at a speed $V_g$, which is ...
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1answer
90 views

Does the average momentum vanish for an eigenstate of the simple harmonic oscillator?

Suppose we have a simple harmonic oscillator, let's consider the ground state, $|0\rangle$ and the first excited state $|1\rangle$. $\langle 0|\hat p|0 \rangle$ is zero right? Since the particle can ...
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199 views

Photons have no mass. So, why does $E = pc$ hold? [duplicate]

It's a somewhat theoretical question. In special relativity, The energy of a photon is given by $E = pc$. But, my argument is that, since photons have no mass, how can they have a momentum $p$? The ...
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1answer
49 views

What's wrong with this simple derivation of energy flux in a photon gas?

In a photon gas, we know that pressure, $P$, and energy density, $u$, are related by: $$P=\frac{u}{3}$$ We also know from relativity that the momentum of a photon is $$p=\frac{E}{c}$$ Finally, the ...
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72 views

Understanding Momentum

I'm trying to learn more about momentum and I'm a little confused. Based on my understanding, in an isolated system, total momentum is conserved in a collision. Today in class the professor went over ...
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1answer
54 views

calculating electrodynamic momentum of a dumbbell (consisting of two point charges) in longitudinal motion

I'm working through a paper on momentum in electrodynamics that requires the integration below and would greatly appreciate any help. I'm pretty sure it evaluates to $2/d$ but I can't quite figure ...
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4answers
446 views

Definition of force, kinetic energy and momentum

I've edited the post. Q1 and Q4 are the important ones but I didn't delete Q2 and Q3 since some older answers would not make sense anymore. To begin with, the formula of the kinetic energy $T$ is ...
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1answer
54 views

How would one compute the angle of deflection, in a relativistic collision - underspecified system?

Consider the simplistic case of two identical mass particles colliding elastically with the second particle initially stationary and the first particle travelling with energy $E$. By conservation of ...
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1answer
62 views

Momentum of Light Question [duplicate]

Since light beams carry momentum, why would a person holding a flashlight not feel a recoil similar to that of a rifle being fired?
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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 ...
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1answer
67 views

changes in horizontal velocity and the effect on time airborne (thus overcoming gravity)

I would like to know if a object is launched horizontally in the air at a lower speed and a higher speed, why does the higher speed keep it airborne longer. what are the forces and why does gravity ...
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100 views

Can acceleration be achieved without reaction mass?

In a previous question, I asked whether a flashlight can accelerate me. The answer is yes. This has led me to wonder, this is inferior to all other known propulsion methods in all aspects except one: ...
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0answers
97 views

Particle In a Box and momentum, velocity

So on a homework assignment, we are give the width of a well, $a$, and the mass of the particle $m$ and we want to find the average velocity of the particle at the n=1 state. So here is my attempt at ...
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1answer
249 views

Quantum Mechanics - Finding momentum probability density [closed]

everyone. I got a bit stuck on 2(iii), this is supposed to be a easy question, but i don't know how you get the square term? I thought you just do the Fourier transform, but then I got some ...
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2answers
140 views

Why not shoot a marble sized spacecraft at the moon?

I was thinking about the Google XPrize for Space Travel the other day. In order to claim the prize of building a robot that goes to the moon, travels 500m, and relays data, I had the idea of building ...
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1answer
104 views

How does $p_x$ commute with $p_y$, i.e. $[p_x,p_y]=0$? [closed]

I know it's a simple and basic question but would someone show me how to evaluate $[\hat{p}_x,\hat{p}_y]$?
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3answers
287 views

Why is momentum quantized in a 1D box even though the operator doesn't give eigenstates?

We don't get eigenstates of momentum when we operate momentum operator in the wave function of particle in a 1D box problem yet we say momentum is quantized in this situation. Why is it so?
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4answers
597 views

Complex conjugate of momentum operator

Consider momentum operator representation in position space. $$\hat{p}=-i\frac{\partial}{\partial x} \,\ \text{and its eigen functions are } e^{ipx} \,\text{and} \,\ e^{-ipx}.$$ ...
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1answer
41 views

Work done or not in this case?

I have a very simple question. A motorboat directed upstream is seen to be at rest from the bank of a river. Is the engine doing any work? Is it right to say that since it is not causing any ...
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1answer
124 views

What happens to the acceleration of a body undergoing constant force?

Here's the problem I have, specifically relating to a rocket in deep space: A rocket burns fuel at a constant rate. Assuming its mass remains constant, what happens to its acceleration? I seem to get ...
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1answer
193 views

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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26 views

Definition of momentum-entangled particles

When we can say that two particle are momentum entangled ? I just read an article where it's said that two momentum entangled particles share the same momentum value in opposite directions no matter ...
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1answer
55 views

How we can manipulate the momentum of a particle?

Is there any way to affect a particle's momentum value?
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3answers
203 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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1answer
105 views

Why won't this reactionless drive idea work (motor with a moving weight in space)

I know people will say it violates many laws of motion and conservation but could anyone explain why it is so? It's NOT a question about free energy. Imagine a motor in space. It has an arm (rod) ...
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85 views

Measurement of Mass and Momentum of a particle simultaneously

In quantum mechanics can the mass and the linear momentum of a particle be measured precisely or do they commute ?
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271 views

About photons and mirrors

If a photon hits a 'perfect' mirror (with no environment interference) would the mirror move a bit?
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1answer
264 views

What are the general solutions to a hard sphere collision?

Surely someone has found the solutions to the hard sphere collisions (in $n$ dimensions) of two bodies of mass $m_1$ and $m_2$, respectively--that is the resultant velocities (or momenta) of the two ...
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3answers
198 views

What happens with a tunneling particle when its momentum is imaginary in QM?

In classical mechanics the motion of a particle is bounded if it is trapped in a potential well. In quantum mechanics this is no longer the case and there is a non zero probability of the particle to ...
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3answers
172 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
64 views

Recoil from a shotgun

First of all I'd like to point out that I'm a complete layman when it comes to physics and I apologise if this isn't the correct forum for this. If I were to sit on an office chair on a laminated ...
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2answers
47 views

Calculating the Probability Current of a Travelling Wave

Calculate the probability current density vector $\vec{j}$ for the wave function : $$\psi = Ae^{-i(wt-kx)}.$$ From my very poor and beginner's understanding of probability density current it is : ...
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1answer
69 views

Colliding particles at speeds aproaching c [closed]

(In natural units where $\hbar=c=1$.) Two particles are to be collided. Each of these particles has a rest mass of 0.9 GeV and they will be collided at equal but opposite speeds. What is the minimum ...
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1answer
28 views

Do I need the exact velocity when experimenting with sliding coins?

I'm doing a home experiment but it's not going very well. I'm pushing coins on a table. I'm taking the time for how long it takes coin A to hit coin B and then I divide it by the time between them ...
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22 views

Calculating rate of change of momentum for a package [closed]

A helicopter is flying to the right (in the $+x$ direction) with a constant speed $v$, carrying a package of mass $M$ suspended below it using a cable as shown in the figure. (You can assume that $H$ ...
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4answers
2k views

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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1answer
107 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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Why $-i\hbar\vec\nabla$ for momentum in quantum mechanics, while $m\vec{v}$ in classical mechanics?

I am a little bit confused when thinking of the momentum representation in QM and CM. In QM, momentum is represented as $-i\hbar\vec\nabla$, while in classical, momentum is represented as $m\vec{v}$. ...
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2answers
92 views

Momentum Operator in Quantum Mechanics

1) What is the difference between these two momentum operators: $\frac{\hbar}{i}\frac{\partial}{\partial x}$ and $-i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial x}$? How are these two operators the same? My ...
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1answer
198 views

Spring Damper System : Recoil Reduction

I am designing a man-"portable" 30mm sniper rifle. Although it may be classified as a anti-materiel cannon. I have the mass of the round in total, and the mass of the projectile leaving the barrel, ...
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0answers
90 views

Including special relativistic effects in momentum in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

I've been told that an electron is somewhere within the space of $10^{-10}m$ and am supposed to find the uncertainty in its velocity. Simply applying $m\Delta x \Delta v \geq \frac{h}{4\pi}$ results ...
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2answers
92 views

Conservation of Mass, Momentum and Energy - Airburst Rounds

I have a airburst round with set amount of fragments with a certain shape inside my bullet. After a certain distance has travelled, a charge explodes in the back of the round disintegrating the shell ...
2
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1answer
86 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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2answers
189 views

What is the reason behind why a quantum particle cannot be at rest?

So I've seen different reasonings for this; which is correct, or are they both corollaries of each other? 1) For a particle to be at rest, we would know its momentum and therefore by Heisenberg's ...
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1answer
103 views

Relative Velocities and Conservation of Kinetic Energy

An object of mass m moves with velocity $v$ towards a stationary object of same mass. Impact is an elastic collision. $v_1$ is the velocity after impact of the mass originally moving $v_2$ is the ...
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1answer
131 views

How do I calculate stopping power?

Malcolm Gladwell made a claim in a recent talk that a sling with a stone going at 30m/s has the same stopping power as a .45 calibre handgun. How would I verify whether or not this claim is true - ...
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0answers
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The question about MTW 4-momentum integral expression and lorentz nature

In section 5.8 of Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler's "Gravitation" there is a proof that 4-momentum determined as $$ \tag 1 p^{\mu} = \int T^{\mu 0}\,\mathrm{d}^{3}\mathbf r , \quad \partial^{\mu}T_{\mu ...
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2answers
98 views

Equal and opposite reaction - forces coming in pairs - or just common sense?

I've never understood why the conservation of momentum law is taught in schools as "every force has an equal opposite reaction". To me a gun's recoil is self explanatory; the explosion sits ...
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1answer
841 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 ...