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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Poynting Vector Volume Integral Inside a Cavity

Given an electromagnetic wave in resonance mode in a vacuum cavity inside a perfect conductor, on the boundary, the parallel component of $E$ field vanishes, and the perpendicular of component of $B$ ...
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63 views

$\dot \omega $ when momentum is conserved

If momentum is conserved when there is no externel force, why is there an acceleration when a momentum parameter is changed (inertia)? How does it accelerate with no external force? For example ...
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115 views

Simple expression for transitional pressure force

Consider a simple, circular orifice with an upstream, high gas pressure and downstream, normal atmospheric pressure. Consider also a flat circular plate that can be positioned anywhere along the ...
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50 views

Sub-light speeds and momentum conservation law

Let's imagine a boat on a lake. Observer A is sitting on the shore. Observer B is sitting in the boat on the bow. Observer B has a ball attached to the end of a string which he holds in his hand. ...
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108 views

When I move my arm forward in vacuum, will my body move backward?

Let's say I stay at point $x=0$ in vacuum. When I move my arm forward such that it will have a positive $x$ position (say $x=5$) will the rest of my body move backward such that it will have a ...
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1answer
101 views

Redshift of a reflected photon from a solar sail

Can someone help me understand my mistake here? I'm thinking of a photon travelling with momentum $p=h/\lambda$ which reflects off a solar sail of mass $m$ travelling with momentum $p_0$ in the same ...
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60 views

Flywheels and work

I'll start with a scenario for some control in the concepts I'm asking about today. Forgive me in advance, I never had the chance to explore physics in school, but I'd be happy to learn something new ...
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614 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
193 views

Conservation of energy and momentum via the continuity equation in asymmetric time and space translation

I am confused about energy and momentum conservation, time and space translation symmetry, and the continuity equation. Suppose we have a mass $m$ in inertial space far from any gravitational ...
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4answers
2k 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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2answers
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Calculating force of impact

Since $\text{force = mass}\times\text{acceleration}$, is it right to say that an object traveling at a high constant velocity (zero acceleration), exerts zero force upon impact with a stationary ...
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1answer
114 views

What force counteracts friction when a block is pulled?

Firstly, I understand and apologize that this is more of a physics question than a math question. I noticed that when I pulled a book out from under a pack of gum, the gum stayed largely in place (it ...
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2answers
69 views

Ziolkowsky Rocket Equation

I've looked at multiple sources on the internet and just can't wrap my mind around it. If I reference the wikipedia page on it; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsiolkovsky_rocket_equation I am getting ...
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4answers
668 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). ...
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164 views

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Question: The uncertainty in position is equal to the uncertainty in momentum. What is the uncertainty in velocity? What I did: I know that the uncertainty in position multiplied by uncertainty in ...
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6answers
11k views

How does gravity affect bullets?

I read recently that if you hold a bullet in one hand and a pistol in the other, both hands at the same height, and subsequently fired the pistol at the same time as dropping the bullet, both bullets ...
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3answers
85 views

Kinetic energy relationships with momentum and mass [closed]

If I have some arbitrary particle, we will call particle 1 and another particle 2 that have the same momentum, yet particle 1 has half the mass of particle 2, how does the kinetic energy compare ...
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2answers
748 views

Why is scattering vector $\vec{q}$ called vector of 'momentum transfer'?

In the world of scattering the angle at which you detect the scattered radiation is known as $q$, where $$ \vec{q} = \frac{4\pi\eta}{\lambda}\sin(\theta/2) $$ I read in a lot of books that this is ...
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3answers
533 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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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
120 views

Energy definition in special relativity

I'm going through the early homework assignments for my special relativity course and I've got myself a little confused about energy. I've got a basic understanding of what the 4-momentum is, having ...
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1answer
196 views

What factors indicates inelastic collision?

I am watching this example from Wikipedia: I am wondering what factors would indicate that the collision of 2 objects will be inelastic (I know macroscopic scale impacts are never perfectly ...
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1answer
43 views

Velocity change of objects

Is it possible for small object (small mass, let's say bullet) to hit large object (big mass, let's say rock) and still move forward (or stop) instead of being reflected (let's say objects don't crush ...
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32 views

How to cancel momentum without causing damage?

This is a fictional scenario I've designed and I'm trying to obtain a plausible logic for it to be somehow possible: I have a moving object, like a car or a person running, how can I stop it ...
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2answers
360 views

Calculating velocity change after impact?

Let's say there is no gravity here and objects won't crush. We have 2 rocks with $m=10\text{ kg}$. First rock has velocity $v_1=0\text{ m/s}$ and second $v_2=10\text{ m/s}$ (flying in leftward ...
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4answers
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How to tell if the collision is elastic or inelastic?

I'm a programmer and a game developer, not a mathematician or a physicist. So please go easy on the math :) I know two things: How to find the new velocities of two objects after an elastic ...
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112 views

Ballistic Pendulum Demo Problem

I have a question about the following problem: I got the solution $v=\frac{M+m}{m} \sqrt{2gh}$. But my real question is in the following picture: In the above slide, how can you derive ...
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2answers
100 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?
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135 views

Determine $p_x$ from $[x,p_x]=i\hbar $ [closed]

With $[x,p_x]=i\hbar $, how to determine the form of the operator $p_x$?
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3answers
246 views

Why does my gravity simulation do this? [closed]

For a school project i created a simple 2D gravity sim in Matlab using the simplest possible method. There are 2 nested loops so that the total force and acceleration of every object can be ...
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1answer
111 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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868 views

Is there a momentum for charge?

Since mass and charge behave similarly, so, just like center of mass, I define a point center of charge, that is defined by $$\vec r_{qm} = \frac {\sum{q_i \vec r_i}} {\sum{q_i}}$$ where $\vec r_i$ ...
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1answer
373 views

Inner product of position and momentum eigenkets

Let's define $\hat{q},\ \hat{p}$ the positon and momentum quantum operators, $\hat{a}$ the annihilation operator and $\hat{a}_1,\ \hat{a}_2$ with its real and imaginary part, such that $$ \hat{a} = ...
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1answer
112 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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144 views

Losing mass in space

So I came across a question while studying laws of motion. Roughly, this is how it goes: There are two astronauts in a space shuttle, who together have mass 200 kg. If by doing exercise, they manage ...
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1answer
58 views

Spacecraft momentum question [closed]

Assume you're sitting in your spacecraft. The mass of you and the spacecraft is 2000 kg. You're traveling at 200km/h through the vacuum of space. You have a thruster pointing in the direction you're ...
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1answer
50 views

Spacetime and the conservation laws

I'm reading Peter Atkins' book, Galileo's Finger, and in the chapter on energy, he makes the points that the conservation of momentum stems from the shape of space (that it's smooth and not lumpy) and ...
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4answers
3k 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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4answers
942 views

question about derivative of momentum = force proof***

I was trying to prove it 2 ways, 1st way: $$p=mΔV$$ $$a=ΔV/t$$ $$ΔV=at$$ $$p=m*a*t$$ Remember $$F=ma$$ $$F(t)=p$$ The derivative of momentum just gives us the "regular force" since b4 that momentum ...
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1answer
66 views

Does mass equal angular momentum?

At the wikipedia pages for angular momentum ($L$) and moment of inertia ($I$) we find the equations: $$L=I \omega$$ $$I=m r^2$$ where $m$ is mass and $r$ is the distance between said mass and ...
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46 views

Difference between momentum calculated from wavefunction and momentum computed by energy formula

Take a quantum well, for example. The energy of an electron is given by: $E_n=k_n n^2$. Moreover, we know that the momentum of an electron with energy $E_n$ is given by: $p=mv=m(2T/m)^{1/2}$, where ...
2
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1answer
100 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
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1answer
103 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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247 views

Shortcut to find $\hat{p}^2$ expectation value

I have been going through several calculations where I am asked to calculate $\langle p^2 \rangle$ and the task is proving to be pretty tedious. Does anyone know of a shortcut for this? Such as with ...
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0answers
79 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
65 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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284 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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106 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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4answers
37k views

What is the relationship between kinetic energy and momentum?

I can't seem to figure out the relationship between $E_k$ and $p$ or $F$. I understand that the units are pretty different. But for example: A bullet with a mass of 10.0g is moving at the speed of ...