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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Why isn't momentum conserved in this pulley problem?

I have some conceptual doubt about method of solving this problem. 24. A block of mass $m$ and a pan of equal mass are connected by a string going over a smooth light pulley as shown in figure ...
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Why Can a Skydiver Hit the Ground and Be Killed? [duplicate]

This is a follow on question from Physics SE Question "Can a Skydiver Land On a Large Slide and Survive?". User Steeven gives this answer here. User Dargscisyhp asks: What is it exactly that ...
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14k views

When is momentum not conserved?

What are some common examples where momentum is not conserved? This question arose in my mind when I read that a ball dropped from a height penetrates into a bed of sand and that momentum is ...
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125 views

Why do safety helmets have a softer inner layer nearer the head?

I know that when an object collides onto the helmet, it causes an inelastic collision so that energy is absorbed by the structure of the helmet, so what exactly does the softer inner layer do? Does it ...
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599 views

Expectation of momentum in the bound state

Is it logically correct to assert that the expectation of the momentum $$\langle \hat p \rangle=0$$ for any bound state because it is bound to some finite region? What is the physical interpretation ...
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1answer
906 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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2answers
423 views

Does constraint for speed of Electric and magnetic fields violates Conservation of momentum or Newton's third law?

I'm just a beginner so bear with me. Consider two frames at rest wrt to each other separated by distance enough for light to take a minute or so. At a given instant we create two large dipoles by some ...
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3answers
112 views

Does the canonical commutation relation relate to the fact that momentum is the generator of spatial translations?

In classical mechanics momentum is the generator of spatial translations. This remains true in quantum mechanics. The way we define the momentum operator in one-dimension, for example, already shows ...
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How to calculate a collision which is partly elastic and partly inelastic?

(For the purpose of this question, "calculating a collision" means: given the velocities and masses of two objects in a collision, figuring out the new velocities of both objects after the collision). ...
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1answer
634 views

Total momentum of the Universe

What is the total momentum of the whole Universe in reference to the point in space where the Big Bang took place? According to my reasoning (and a bit elementary knowledge) it should be exactly ...
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163 views

Derivation of canonical position-momentum commutator relation

We know that the position-momentum commutator is fundamental in quantum mechanics, but would it be possible to derive it starting from a different set of first principles, more specifically starting ...
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2answers
159 views

Impulse, relative velocties

Why is (m)(v)=Impulse or as they put it here, Vs = I/Ms? Shouldn't (m)(v) be equal to momentum, not I? I don't understand why that is the solution. I was trying to solve for relative velocities, ...
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808 views

The Momentum Operator in QM

I've seen the 'derivation' as to why momentum is an operator, but I still don't buy it. Momentum has always been just a product $m{\bf v}$. Why should it now be an operator. Why can't we just multiply ...
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803 views

Conservation of Energy in Different Frames of Reference

Say I have a bucket of fuel that can produce 150J of energy by combustion. No matter what frame of reference an observer or the bucket of fuel is in, since the configuration of molecules stay the ...
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3answers
161 views

Center of mass motion and variation of mass

Here are the proofs regarding the center of mass motion as reported on my book. $$\vec{r_{cm}}=\frac{\sum\vec{r_i} m_i}{\sum m_i}$$ $$\vec{v_{cm}}=\frac{d{\vec{r_{cm}}}}{dt}=\frac{1}{M}\sum ...
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3answers
198 views

Why is the definition of inertial mass circular?

On Wikipedia, the definition of inertial mass is: Inertial mass is the mass of an object measured by its resistance to acceleration. And, can be evaluated using $F = ma$, Newton's second ...
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2answers
47 views

Can wind be defined as momentum/mass of air molecules?

In the past I thought a breeze of wind was "made" from a large amount of air molecules going all the same direction in the same speed. But it's not like that, actually this voted answer, this site, ...
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2answers
80 views

Mechanics impulse related

A bead of mass 'm' is connected at one end of an inextensible massless string. The other end of the string is fixed to a fixed cylinder. An initial impulse J is given to the bead perpendicular to ...
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2answers
117 views

Where does the equation $p=\frac{1}{c}\sqrt{T^2 +2mTc^2}$ come from?

Where does the relativistic formula $$p~=~\frac{1}{c}\sqrt{T^2 +2mTc^2}$$ come from? What is the derivation from Einstein's formula? $T$ is the kinetic energy $m$ is the mass $p$ is the momentum.
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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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1answer
139 views

How to get the accurate relativistic momentum form for photons? [duplicate]

I have studied from Griffiths, the relativistic form of momentum is $$p = \frac{1}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}} m_0v$$ Now when I evaluate the momentum for photon, I just insert $v=c$ and $m_0=0$ and I ...
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How do the electric or magnetic fields contain momentum?

I have recently come to know that the electric and magnetic field contain both linear and angular momenta, which are known functions of the electric and magnetic fields at any given point in space and ...
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2answers
602 views

Derivative of a Position Eigenket

I was flicking through Zettili's book on quantum mechanics and came across a 'derivation' of the momentum operator in the position representation on page 126. The author derived that ...
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Conservation of Momentum/Energy collision Problem

I'm working on a physics problem in preparation for the MCAT and there's this particular problem that's troubling me. I don't know if it's a bad question or if I'm not understanding some sort of ...
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2answers
136 views

Schrödinger equation in momentum space

In literature on an introduction to quantum mechanics which I am working through, there is a section which explains that a vector has different representations based on the basis you choose. It then ...
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84 views

Car Crash Question… (Conservation of Momentum?) [duplicate]

Dumb car crash question. I think this is a conservation of momentum problem. In one scenario, two 4000 lb cars (car A and car B) each traveling at exactly 35 MPH in opposite directions have a ...
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317 views

Conservation of momentum in a baseball

Conservation of momentum: A thought experiment. A baseball is placed on top of a baseball holder, the kind used to train young batters. A batter hits the stationary ball perfectly horizontal, sending ...
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1answer
188 views

Area of phase space of Harmonic oscillator

We all know that the phase trajectory of an undamped linear harmonic oscillator is an ellipse. But when we calculate the area of the ellipse we find it does not depend of mass of the particle. Why is ...
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1answer
87 views

If a photon doesn't necessarily travel in a straight line, doesn't it defy the law of cons. of momentum?

I just finished reading Richard Feynman's lectures on Quantum Electrodynamics (QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter) and it fascinated me. However, there's an unanswered question I have from ...
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2answers
120 views

Can momentum be distributed to multiple objects which travel in different vectors?

This is a question about the conservation of momentum: If there were a cluster of billiard balls floating in space and the cluster was struck by one moving ball, the cluster balls would scatter in ...
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5answers
1k views

The elusive difference between force and impulse

Impulse is defined as the product of a force $F$ acting for a (short) time $t$, $J = F*t$, and that is very clear. What I find difficult to understand is how a force can exist that doesn't act for a ...
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2answers
758 views

Isolated and non-isolated systems: Momentum?

I'm having a difficult time understanding why two billiard balls colliding is an isolated system, yet a car crashing into a wall is a non-isolated system. Does it really only have to deal with the ...
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1answer
110 views

Special Relativity: Finding the Euler Lagrange of a massive particle

Knowing that $$\tag{1} L= -mc\sqrt{-\eta_{ab}\frac{d\xi^a}{d\lambda}\frac{d\xi^b}{d\lambda}}$$ we get $$\tag{2} p_a=\frac{\partial L}{\partial(d\xi^a/d\lambda)} = m\eta_{ab}u^b.$$ How come? If I ...
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401 views

Conservation of linear momentum, when is it conserved?

Will Linear momentum be conserved in a non-inertial frame of reference? In other words what is the fundamental condition for linear momentum to be conserved? Also which is more fundamental- Newton's ...
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282 views

Probability of measuring momentum [closed]

Suppose we have this wavefunction: $$ \psi = A \left( cos(kx) + cos (2kx) \right) $$ I have to find the possible results of measurement of momentum and their probabilities. Attempt For a momentum ...
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4answers
863 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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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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1answer
2k 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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2answers
290 views

Why does a stationary force affect the conservation of momentum, but not the conservation of energy?

Let's say I have two positive charges approaching one another at the same speed with only their mutual forces acting on one another. Total momentum (= 0) and energy is conserved and the charges ...
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3answers
437 views

Where do the conservation laws come from?

I know the conservation of energy comes from Noether's theorem via the time-translational symmetry, and if I remember correctly, the conservation of momentum comes from space-translational symmetry. ...
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1answer
167 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
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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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4answers
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Is the momentum operator well-defined in the basis of standing waves?

Suppose I want to describe an arbitrary state of a quantum particle in a box of side $L$. The relevant eigenmodes are those of standing waves, namely $$ \left<x|n\right>=\sqrt{\frac{2}{L}}\cdot ...
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1answer
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How do kinetic energy and linear momentum relate?

It took me quite a long time to click my gears in place and even then I'm not sure it's completely correct. The problem is that I need to understand these concepts (physics concepts; not just these ...
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3answers
109 views

Conservation of Momentum

Conservation of momentum can be derived during collisions by using Newton's laws of motion. But in other cases, do we simply take it like an axiom ?
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1answer
145 views

Conservation of linear momentum and velocity of a system (damper and spring in a series)

This example is from a book on dynamics. Let us consider the system above formed by two blocks (each of mass $m$) connected by a linear damper and spring in a series. They slide without friction on ...
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1answer
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What is 'momentum outflow'?

Feynman, in his lecture, on Field momentum, used this term while relating the momentum of matter the field is interacting with & the field's momentum itself. Here is the excerpt: Just as the ...
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What happens when two bodies collide in a dynamics point of view?

I'm a high school student learning about energy and momentum. What confuses me is the things with elastic and inelastic collisions. I completely (in my opinion) understand those concepts in energy ...
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545 views

Estimate for energy dissipated by a damper/dashpot

I have a system with a mass $m$ attached to the end of a cable. The cable mass is assumed negligible. The cable is attached to the ground at the one end while the other, with the attached mass $m$, ...
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273 views

Is there difference in force when the height increases?

Consider a man with mass 50kg. When he jumps from a 2 meter height, the total force is $F=ma$ ie (mass * gravity), but nothing happens to him. When he jumps from a 50 meter height, the total force ...