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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
2answers
195 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
837 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
261 views

Difference in “momentum” names in Lagrangian mechanics

In the context of Lagrangian formulation of classical mechanics, the following names keep occurring in most textbooks, which confuse me a lot, are they different in any way? Momentum Generalized ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Question relating to energy transfer in between two particles

How would I go about calculating the maximum kinetic energy transferred from one particle when it forms an elastic collision with another particle. For example, if I had two billiards one with mass m ...
2
votes
3answers
641 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Motivating the ansatz for the infinitesimal translation operator

I'm reading Sakurai's Modern QM right now and in the first chapter he states a number of conditions required for a translation operator: unitarity, ...
2
votes
4answers
216 views

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). ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

Simultaneous conservation of linear and angular momentum

Suppose there is a ring in the space where there is no gravity. The width of the ring is $r$ which is negligible compared to its inner radius $R$. The ring is in horizontal position. Now imagine a ...
2
votes
2answers
247 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Why does rubber ball bounce back while iron ball doesn't?

Suppose there are two balls, one of rubber and the other metallic. There are of the same mass and are thrown on a wall with the same velocity. Why does a rubber ball bounce back while a metallic ball ...
2
votes
2answers
417 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
333 views

How to get the new direction of 2 disks colliding?

I'm developing a 2D game including collisions between many disks. I would like to know how I can get the angle corresponding to the new direction of each disk. For every disk I have this information ...
2
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
474 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
324 views

Rocket drive and conservation of momentum

I am currently reading through some lecture notes of Physics 1 and in a chapter about the dynamics of the mass point, there is an example covering the rocket drive. Let $v$ be the velocity of the ...
2
votes
3answers
536 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
146 views

Momentum vector transformation

I am confused about the way momentum vector transforms in the following case: $$q_k \to q_k'= q_k + \epsilon f_k(q)$$ The Jacobian is thus $\Lambda_{ij} = \frac{\partial q'_i}{\partial q_j} \approx ...
2
votes
1answer
133 views

Atmospheric pressure's effect on sound

An argument has been travelling in amongst my friends around this matter and after listening about it for 3 whole days I decided to ask it here. The Question is: Would a high atmospheric pressure ...
2
votes
3answers
463 views

Conservation of 4-momentum in special relativity

I understand that the inner product of two 4-vectors is conserved under the Lorentz transformations, so that the absolute value of the four momentum is the same in any reference frame. This is what I ...
2
votes
1answer
91 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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
534 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
320 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
8k 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?
2
votes
2answers
85 views

A student of mine wants to build a Gyroscopic Inertial Thruster

I work as a tutor with students in their first three semesters. One of my more eager students is obsessed with this thing: A Gyroscopic Inertial Thruster Here is a Wikipedia Article on that. I was ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

A question regarding collisions

Let us consider a system of 2 identical spherical bodies connected by a massless string that is taut. If one body is placed at the origin then the other is placed at some coordinate $(x,y)$. The ...
2
votes
2answers
87 views

Where did the universe get its initial momentum?

If, according to Newton's third law, forces come in pairs then what about the big bang? where did the universe get that initial push/momentum?
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
171 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: ...
2
votes
2answers
261 views

How to calculate velocities after collision?

I'm currently writing a program for a particle simulator. One of the requirements is that the particles collide in a realistic way. However, I don't know how to calculate the final velocities. For ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

How does a “hammer thrower” that we see in the Olympics, impart so much momentum

How does a "hammer thrower" that we see in the Olympics, build so much momentum into the club? It's sort of like the golf swing, the more momentum, primarily in the club head, the further the ball ...
2
votes
2answers
149 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
784 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
34 views

How are momentum and position operators dependent on the chosen inertial frame?

How are momentum and position operators in quantum mechanics dependent on the chosen inertial frame of reference?
2
votes
3answers
109 views

Impulse and force in a karate chop, can we maximize force minimizing the time of impact?

I have heard that we can maximize the force by minimizing the time of impact in a punch. If that is true, the paradox is if we increase the time of contact with the same amount of force still we ...
2
votes
2answers
117 views

Will I be able to push a small object in front of me in the outer space?

Imagine I am standing on Earth, and pushing a tennis ball away from me. The ball moves. If it is very heavy, I will move back instead of the ball. Now consider the same scenario in outer space, where ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

Why isn't jumping against a wall an elastic collision?

According to this calculator http://www.abecedarical.com/javascript/script_collision1d.html when low mass object hits high mass object it is reflected gaining opposite velocity almost the same as ...
2
votes
3answers
199 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 ...
2
votes
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, ...
2
votes
5answers
337 views

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 $q$ ...
2
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
539 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
482 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
407 views

Single photon's effect on conservation of momentum?

When your looking at basic Compton theory you find that if you shoot a stream of photons at a particle (usually atoms or electrons), then you have the basic laws of conservation of momentum. The ...
2
votes
1answer
285 views

Fundamental properties of motion

The first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on the angular momentum operator states that In both classical and quantum mechanical systems, angular momentum (together with linear momentum and ...
2
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
250 views

Conservation of momentum with MOND

Assuming as true the phenomenological MOND law for low accelerations ($< 10^{-10} m s^{-2} = a_0$), and considering a small mass $m$ attached to a larger mass $M$ by a faint spring (let's think of ...
2
votes
1answer
230 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
233 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 ...