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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Is the gravitational potential of a planet in orbit always equal to minus the squared velocity?

Say a planet (mass $m$) is orbiting a star (mass $M$) in a perfect circle, so it is in circular motion. $F=ma$ and the gravitational force between two masses $F=\frac{GMm}{r^2}$ so ...
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In a universe where the speed of light is infinite, are relativistic models and Newtonian models equivalent?

Take our universe. Observations are consistent with relativity, but not consistent with Newtonian mechanics. Assume that our current (relativistic) model of gravitation is correct. Now increase $c$ ...
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Is the second law of thermodynamics a fundamental law, or does it emerge from other laws?

My question is basically this. Is the second law of thermodynamics a fundamental, basic law of physics, or does it emerge from more fundamental laws? Let's say I was to write a massive computer ...
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No closed orbits for a Newtonian gravitational field in 4 spatial dimensions

We are supposed to show that orbits in 4D are not closed. Therefore I derived a Lagrangian in hyperspherical coordinates $$L=\frac{m}{2}(\dot{r}^2+\sin^2(\gamma)(\sin^2(\theta)r^2 \dot{\phi}^2+r^2 ...
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What is the period of a physical pendulum without using small-angle approximation?

What is the expression for the period of a physical pendulum without the $\sin\theta\approx\theta$ approximation? i.e. a pendulum described by this equation: $$ mgd\sin(\theta)=-I\ddot\theta $$ ...
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Might a planet perform figure-8 orbits around two stars?

Might a planet perform figure-8 orbits around two stars? I'm thinking that if the two stars were equal mass (and not orbiting each other) then a planet that were to go right between them would ...
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607 views

How fast do you have to spin an egg to have it standing?

If you take a hardboiled egg and put it on a table and start to spin it, if you spin it fast enough it will start to spin in an upright position. What is the angular velocity needed for this ...
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655 views

Dynamics of counter-rotating flywheels

I've wondered about this for ages. If we create a pair of flywheels that rotate in the opposite direction with the same angular momentum, but are co-located and have the same mass and inertial moment ...
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What makes a wrist-energized gyroscope rotate faster?

I'm considering a wrist-energized gyroscope, shown below (after my daughter let it fall and it broke open). That one was sold as Roller Ball, but variants are known as Powerball, DynaBee, Dynaball, ...
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285 views

Can a fly pierce itself onto a cactus needle?

Somebody on reddit posted a ridiculous picture today of a fly pierced onto a needle of a cactus: http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/xarue/what_are_the_odds_of_this_accident/ Whilst the OP claims ...
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350 views

Other kind of Brachistochrone problem

We know the Brachistochrone problem that to find the shape of the curve down which a bead sliding from rest and accelerated by gravity will slip (without friction) from one point to another in the ...
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What is the physics of a spinning coin?

When we spin a coin on a table, we observe 2 things: It slows down and stops after sometime. It does not stay at just one point on the table but its point of contact with table changes with time. ...
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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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How does the earth move?

My son who is 5 years old is asking me a question about how the earth moves around the sun. What answer should I give him?
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What creates the chaotic motion on a double pendulum?

As we know, The double pendulum has a chaotic motion. But, why is this? I mean, the mass of the two pendulums are the same and they have the same length. But, what makes its motion random? I'm just ...
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Huge buildings affect Earth's rotation?

Does constructing huge buildings affect the rotation of the Earth, similar to skater whose angular rotation increases when her arms are closed comparatively than open?
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How much more efficient is a road bike than a mountain bike? [closed]

What would be a good estimate on the difference of efficiency between a road bike and a mountain bike? A number of links cite all the usual reasons: thinner tires, better aerodynamics... But I'm ...
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Why I think tension should be twice the force in a tug of war

I'm going to provide my argument for why I think the tension in a rope should be twice the force exerted on either side of it. First, let's consider a different example. Say, there is a person named ...
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Are all central forces conservative? Wikipedia must be wrong

It might be just a simple definition problem but I learned in class that a central force does not necessarily need to be conservative and the German Wikipedia says so too. However, the English ...
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Non-Constant Acceleration due to Gravity

Recently, I had the first physics lab for my university physics course. This lab was fairly simple, as we were merely using a computer and a distance sensor to graph the position, velocity, and ...
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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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Does ABS shorten stopping distance of a car?

ABS, from German Antiblockiersystem, is a device put in almost every new automobile. The web has lots of explanations about the system, how it works, but I don't understand how it shortens the way of ...
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How do you explain Kepler's third law in general terms without complex math?

I understand the first law-elliptical orbits, and the second-equal area in same time, but I need help with the third one. Note that I am not in an AP course or taking calculus at the moment so simple ...
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Where does the extra equation come from to determine the forces from an object on a table?

I have a question about basic statics but somehow I cannot manage to find the answer on my own (btw, this is not a homework. It's been so many years since school for me...). The problem is very ...
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Why is a book on a table not an example of Newton's third law?

My textbook explains Newton's Third Law like this: If an object A exterts a force on object B, then object B exerts an equal but opposite force on object A It then says: Newton's 3rd law ...
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Static Friction - Only thing that can accelerate a train?

I'm a computer programmer that never studied physics in school and now it's coming back to bite me a bit in some of the stuff I'm being asked to program. I'm trying to self study some physics and ...
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Is acceleration an average?

Background I'm new to physics and math. I stopped studying both of them in high-school, and I wish I hadn't. I'm pursuing study in both topics for personal interest. Today, I'm learning about ...
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Would a bicycle stay upright if moving on a treadmill and why?

I suspect not, because moving forward (or backwards for that matter) is an important part, but I would like to confirm. UPDATE: Clearly it's possible ...
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How long would a lever have to be to move the planet Earth?

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. -Archimedes How long would that lever have to be? That is to say, how long a lever ...
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How is distance between sun and earth calculated?

How has the distance between sun and earth been calculated by scientists? and size of sun? Thanks,
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Intuitive meaning of Newton (units)

Is there any intuitive reasoning behind why the units of a "Newton" is $kg \frac{m}{s^{2}}$ and how it represents force? I always wanted to understand why objects of different mass fall at 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 ...
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What is the maximum efficiency of a trebuchet?

Using purely gravitational potential energy, what is the highest efficiency one can achieve with a trebuchet counter-weight type of machine? Efficiency defined here as transformation of potential ...
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What exactly are Hamiltonian Mechanics (and Lagrangian mechanics)

What exactly are Hamiltonian Mechanics (and Lagrangian mechanics)? I want to self-study QM, and I've heard from most people that Hamiltonian mechanics is a prereq. So I wikipedia'd it and the entry ...
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Dependence of Friction on Area

Is friction really independent of area? The friction force, $f_s = \mu_s N$. The equation says that friction only depends on the normal force, which is $ N = W = mg$, and nature of sliding surface, ...
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Block on a block problem, with friction

Consider two blocks, one on top of the other on a frictionless table, with masses $m_1$ and $m_2$ respectively. There is appreciable friction between the blocks, with coefficients $\mu_s$ and $\mu_k$ ...
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What is the force on the arms in a pushup?

What force do the arms have to generate to do a pushup? Let us look a this simplified model: The body can be represented by the green plank of mass B. Its angle to the ground is $\theta$. This ...
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What is the optimal burn direction to lower periapsis of hyperbolic orbit?

I am an engineering student who is interested in orbital mechanics. I am doing some self study before taking some orbital mechanics courses next year. I was learning about various orbit types ...
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Is it correct that tires quickly get bald when used at high speed?

In my investigation, tires will quickly get bald if we ride a motorcycle at high speed. Is it correct? How to explain it in physics? Does the friction increase at high speed rotation? Update: The ...
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When is “Inertia” Negligible?

I have started to read Strogatz's Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos and I have come across an interesting bit. He states certain damped oscillators may be modeled as having no inertia term, I.E. $$m ...
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Intuitive explanation of why orbits are closed?

Yesterday my brother asked me how orbits work. Suppose for the sake of the question that you are trying to put a rocket in orbit around the Earth. I explained that orbiting is essentially being in ...
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Defy gravity torques with gyroscopes?

Context On the following drawing, a platform is hung from the ceiling not exactly from its centre of gravity. Because of this it can't sustain an arbitrary orientation for long; I want to increase ...
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D'Alembert's Principle: Necesssity of virtual displacements

Why is the D'Alembert's Principle $$\sum_{i} ( {F}_{i} - m_i \bf{a}_i )\cdot \delta \bf r_i = 0$$ stated in terms of "virtual" displacements instead of actual displacements? Why is it so necessary ...
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140 views

How to design a deliberately biased coin?

For demonstrating basic probability concepts, it would be nice to have a coin-like object that lands heads/tails not in 50/50% ratio, but biased in a way that can be revealed in a short experiment. ...
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How multiple objects in contact are resolved in an inelastic collision, when edge normals don't “line up”

In a case I understand, let's say I have an object A moving at velocity V toward 3 objects in contact B, C, and D: The momentum of A is the mass of A times its velocity. To figure out how the ...
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457 views

What will be different if the spring is not massless?

In almost all text, it uses the massless spring as example to illustrate the idea of elastic potential energy. I wonder what's really being changed if we consider the mass of the spring? I saw a ...
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In the case of riding a bicycle, why can the system of the bicycle and rider be accelerated if no external net force?

According to Newton, if no external net force acting on a system then the system will keep its initial condition whether at rest or moving uniformly in a straight line. Let's consider a boy riding a ...
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Why does a ballerina speed up when she pulls in her arms?

My friend thinks it's because she has less air resistance but I'm not sure.
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Why does tossing a coin in a train and on a train differ?

Suppose that I am inside of a moving train. I have a coin in my hand and I am standing still. If I toss this coin straight up, it will fall back into my hand. Now, suppose that I am on that moving ...
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How long must escape velocity be maintained?

Escape velocity from Earth's surface is 11.2 Kilometres/second How long would one need to maintain this escape velocity to actually escape Earth's gravitational pull? Must this 11.2 km/s velocity ...