Newtonian mechanics covers the discussion of the movement of classical bodies under the influence of forces by making use of Newton’s three laws. For more general discussion of energy, momentum conservation etc., use classical-mechanics, for Newton’s description of gravity, use newtonian-gravity.

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Are there examples in classical mechanics where D'Alembert's principle fails?

D'Alembert's principle suggests that the work done by the internal forces for a virtual displacement of a mechanical system in harmony with the constraints is zero. This is obviously true for the ...
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Why is Newton's first law necessary?

Newton's second law says $F=ma$. Now if we put $F=0$ we get $a=0$ which is Newton's first law. So why do we need Newton's first law ? Before asking I did some searching and I got this: Newtons first ...
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Does centrifugal force exist?

Currently in my last year of high school, and I have always been told that centrifugal force does not exist by my physics teachers. Today my girlfriend in the year below asked me what centrifugal ...
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Where does the extra kinetic energy come from in a gravitational slingshot?

I read in this answer in this site that the KE a free-falling ball acquires is not originated by the attracting body but that energy was actually stored in the ball when it had been lifted to the ...
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Galilean invariance of Lagrangian for non-relativistic free point particle?

In QFT, the Lagrangian density is explicitly constructed to be Lorentz-invariant from the beginning. However the Lagrangian $$L = \frac{1}{2} mv^2$$ for a non-relativistic free point particle is ...
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How did Newton discover his third law of motion?

How did Newton discover his third law? Was it his original finding or was it a restatement of someone else's, like the first law coming from Galileo? What initiated the concept of what is now known as ...
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Can the coefficient of static friction be less than that of kinetic friction?

I was recently wondering what would happen if the force sliding two surfaces against each other were somehow weaker than kinetic friction but stronger than static friction. Since the sliding force is ...
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Why are orbits elliptical? [duplicate]

Almost all of the orbits of planets and other celestial bodies are elliptical, not circular. Is this due to gravitational pull by other nearby massive bodies? If this was the case a two body system ...
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Why $F=ma$ and not $F=m\dot{a}$?

What would happen if instead of $F=m*d^2x/dt^2$, we had $F=m*d^3x/dt^3$ or higher? Intuitively, I have always seen a justification for $\sim 1/r^2$ forces as the "forces being divided equally over ...
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Is two cars colliding at 50mph the same as one car colliding into a wall at 100 mph?

I was watching a youtube video the other day where an economist said that he challenged his physics professor on this question back when he was in school. His professor said each scenario is the same, ...
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Effect of the tail of the cat in the falling cat problem

To explain why a falling cat can turn by 180 degree without external torque and without violation of the conservation of angular momentum, one usually models the cat as two cylinders as in http://en....
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Is the distance between the Sun and the Earth increasing?

M = mass of the Sun m = mass of the Earth r = distance between the Earth and the Sun The sun is converting mass into energy by nuclear fusion. $F = \frac{GMm}{r^2} = \frac{mv^2}{r} \rightarrow r =...
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Newtons Cradle, Collision Theory

It has come to the point in my computing program now where I have 5 swinging pendulums that are all modified at once by slider values. These values are drawn onto the from and passed through the class ...
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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 the ...
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Time taken for object in space to fall to earth

The Problem For a small mass a distance $R_i$ away from the center of the Earth, how long would it take for the object to fall to the surface of the Earth, assuming that the only force acting upon the ...
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Why does a system try to minimize potential energy?

In mechanics problems, especially one-dimensional ones, we talk about how a particle goes in a direction to minimize potential energy. This is easy to see when we use cartesian coordinates: For ...
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Is kinetic energy a relative quantity? Will it make inconsistent equations when applying it to the conservation of energy equations?

If the velocity is a relative quantity, will it make inconsistent equations when applying it to the conservation of energy equations? For example: In the train moving at $V$ relative to ground, ...
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Newton's Bucket

Newton's Bucket This thought experiment is originally due to Sir Isaac Newton. We have a sphere of water floating freely in an opaque box in intergalactic space, held together by surface tension and ...
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An example of non-Hamiltonian systems [closed]

I am preparing for the exam. And I need to know the answer to one question which I can't understand. "Give an example of non-Hamiltonian systems: in case of infinite number of particles; for a finite ...
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Is rotational motion relative to space?

Let's assume that there is nothing in the universe except Earth. If the Earth rotates on its axis as it does, then would we experience the effects of rotational motion like centrifugal force and ...
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What is the proof that a force applied on a rigid body will cause it to rotate around its center of mass?

Say I have a rigid body in space. I've read that if I during some short time interval apply a force on the body at some point which is not in line with the center of mass, it would start rotating ...
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Derivation of Euler's equations for rigid body rotation

Sorry for using this image, but I thought this was the most convenient way of asking this question. Please zoom in. I do not understand from the line, "Now, in the body frame $T = (T_{x'}, T_{y'}, T_{...
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Why is torque not measured in Joules?

Recently, I was doing my homework and I found out that Torque can be calculated using $\tau = rF$. This means the units of torque are Newton meters. Energy is also measured in Newton meters which are ...
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Rotation of a slipping ladder

Imagine a ladder leaning against a wall. All surfaces are smooth. Hence the ladder will slip and fall. While falling it rotates because there are external torques acting on it. My question is about ...
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What determines the direction of precession of a gyroscope?

I understand how torque mathematically causes a change to the direction of angular momentum, thus precessing the gyroscope. However, the direction, either clockwise or counterclockwise, of this ...
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Why is potential energy negative when orbiting in a gravitational field?

I had to do a problem, and part of it was to find the mechanical energy of satellite orbiting around mars, and I had all of the information I needed. I thought the total mechanical energy would be the ...
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Tricky conceptual question: ball sliding and rolling down incline [closed]

We all are familiar with the classic ball rolling down the incline exercise in rotational dynamics. Here is quite a tricky conceptual problem: You have an incline of fixed height, but the angle ...
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Why can light (photons) bends in a curve through space without mass? [duplicate]

I've heard that light can form a curve if they travel near high-mass stars or even a black hole with strong gravity. Which is according to this Newtonian formula $$\large F_{g}=\dfrac{Gm_1m_2}{r^2}.$$...
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What causes a soccer ball to follow a curved path?

Soccer players kick the ball in a linear kick, though you find it to turn sideways, not even in one direction. Just mid air it changes that curve's direction. Any physical explanation? Maybe this ...
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How can an object's instantaneous speed be zero and it's instantaneous acceleration be nonzero?

I'm studying for my upcoming physics course and ran across this concept - I'd love an explanation.
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Angular momentum of a translating and rotating body

If a rod is rotating about one end, does it have pure rotation or do you also consider the translation of centre of mass when calculating its angular momentum? Also, how would one calculate the ...
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Why if the torque equals zero measured from one point in space it equals zero measured from any other point?

I've heard it from two teachers and saw a task with a solution based on this assumption: If the net torque is zero when measured from one frame of reference, it is equal to zero in all other ...
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How was the formula for kinetic energy found, and who found it?

My questions mostly concern the history of physics. Who found the formula for kinetic energy $E_k =\frac{1}{2}mv^{2}$ and how was this formula actually discovered? I've recently watched Leonard ...
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What's the difference between centre of mass & centre of gravity for massive bodies?

My book says: For most of the small objects, both are same. But for mammoth ones, they are really different ones. And in a gravity-less environment, COG is absent; COM still exists. Ok, what's ...
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The secret behind the spinning, asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top?

When you spin an asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top, the heavy part actually rises to the top. Why is this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0SZZTBQmEs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
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Derivation of the centrifugal and coriolis force

I was wondering how easily these two pseudo-forces can be derived mathematically in order to exhibit a clear physical meaning. How would you proceed?
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How do you explain spinning tops to a nine year old?

Why don't spinning tops fall over? (The young scientist version) My nine year old son asked me this very question when playing with his "Battle Strikers" set. Having studied Physics myself, I am very ...
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What is a rocket engine thrusting against in space?

I know Newton's third law of motion might be the answer for this but still I am wondering how the rockets could thrust in the empty space and move in the opposite direction. I guess an astronaut ...
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How can we move an object with zero velocity?

Consider there is a box of mass $m$ at rest on the floor. Most books give an example that we need to do a work of $mgh$ to lift the box $h$ upward. If we analyze this work done, the external force ...
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Height of Water 'Splashing'

Suppose from a height $H$, I throw a ball of mass $M$ and radius $R$ with initial velocity $u$ into a pool of depth $x$ having a liquid with density $\rho$ and coefficient of viscosity $\eta$. ...
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How can I determine whether the mass of an object is evenly distributed?

How can I determine whether the mass of an object is evenly distributed without doing any permanent damage? Suppose I got all the typical lab equipment. I guess I can calculate its center of mass and ...
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Kinetic energy with respect to different reference frames

I'm having problems understanding the following situation. Suppose two 1-tonne cars are going with the same orientations but opposite senses, each 50 km/h with respect to the road. Then the total ...
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Did relativity make Newtonian mechanics obsolete?

Did Einstein completely prove Newton wrong? If so, why we apply Newtonian mechanics even today? Because Newton said that time is absolute and Einstein suggested it relative? So, if fundamentals are ...
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How do we know that $F = ma$, not $F = k \cdot ma$

It seems intuitive that $a\; \propto \frac{F}{m}$, as the greater the force that is applied on an object, the greater its acceleration will be. Inversely, the greater the mass of the object, the ...
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If you could ride an elevator through the earth [duplicate]

What if it was possible to ride an elevator straight through earth. If we take all the heat and pressure problems away, and assume it would be possible: What would happen with gravity? Would gravity ...
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Why force $F$ is $ma$ but not $md$ or $mv$? How can I observe and understand “force” in real life?

As a layman, i can calculate approx "displacement" just by observing the moving object. And accurately by using a simple "scale". Similarly, again, I can calculate angle from origin by using ...
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Friction forces and sliding slabs

I have 2 questions, one generalizing the other. Question 1: Suppose we have 2 slabs resting horizontally on a table. Assume there is friction between the 2 slabs as well as between the bottom slab ...
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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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Determine resultant velocity of an elastic particle-particle collision in 3d space

So I have two particles that have collided in 3 dimensional space. I want the particles to rebound off of each other in an elastic manner. How do I determine the resultant velocity vector if I know: ...
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Conditions for vertical circular motion

If a bob attached to a string is swinging in vertical circular motion, we say that the bob leaves the circular path when the tension in the string becomes zero, but even when tension becomes zero, ...