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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (3)

12
votes
2answers
3k views

Slinky base does not immediately fall due to gravity

Why does the base of this slinky not fall immediately to gravity? My guess is tension in the springs is a force > mass*gravity but even then it is dumbfounding.
12
votes
5answers
936 views

Compressibility and the form of Newton's second law in fluid mechanics

In deriving Euler's equations for fluid mechanics, in particular $$f=\rho \partial_t v +\rho v\cdot \nabla v$$ for some body force $f$ (e.g Landau & Lifschitz 2.3) one assumes the continuity ...
12
votes
2answers
457 views

Is force a “real thing”, or a tool for explaining changes in measurable phenomena?

My physics text says that force is "an interaction between two bodies or a body and its environment." When an object undergoes acceleration we explain it with a force. But we don't measure force, ...
11
votes
5answers
4k views

How does Newton's third law apply to an object interacting with air?

We all know that if I punch the wall with $100\,\mathrm{N}$ force, the wall pushes me back with with $100\,\mathrm{N}$ and I get hurt. But if I punch air with $100\,\mathrm{N}$, does air punches me ...
11
votes
8answers
20k views

Is gravity a force and if so what is its opposite?

For every force there is an equal force in the opposite direction on another body, correct? So when the Suns gravity acts on Earth where is the opposite and equal force? I also have the same ...
11
votes
8answers
6k views

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 ...
11
votes
15answers
10k views

Is Newton's third law always correct?

Newton's third law states that every force has an equal and opposite reaction. But this doesn't seem like the case in the following scenario: For example, a person punches a wall and the wall breaks. ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

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 ...
11
votes
6answers
8k views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Changing Rotation Direction in Mid Air

Not sure whether this is an appropriate question for this site, but could anyone explain the physics behind how this skier is able to change his direction of rotation mid-air? ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Can a pool ball change direction mid-roll?

In this youtube video, a pool shark consistently gets the cue ball to drastically change direction mid-roll (i.e. while after he's hit it). Is this theoretically possible without using trick balls? If ...
11
votes
5answers
4k views

Why would a fat skydiver fall first in free fall?

I was having one of those obnoxious conversations with a friend where he was arguing that a fat skydiver would reach the ground faster than a skinny skydiver. To me it seemed as obvious that the world ...
11
votes
2answers
477 views

How large can planets or moons appear?

In many artistic impressions or movies there are pictures or scenes where the sky is filled with an enormous moon (as seen from a planet) or vice versa. I wonder if there is an upper limit to the ...
11
votes
1answer
12k views

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?
11
votes
3answers
558 views

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 ...
11
votes
4answers
7k views

Does it matter how you order your tug-of-war participants?

In a tug-of-war match today, my summer camp students were very concerned about putting the biggest people at the back of the rope. Is there any advantage to this strategy?
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Can a particle have momentum without energy?

Can a particle have linear momentum if the total energy of the particle is zero? Even if a particle has a certain velocity, can its potential energy cancel out the kinetic energy as to add to zero ?
11
votes
2answers
735 views

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 ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I calculate the distance a ship will take to stop?

I am a River Pilot and drive ships for a living. These ships are very large and range up to 160,000 Metric Tons. I am trying to figure out how to calculate the distance to stopping. I have a basic ...
10
votes
12answers
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Weightlessness in Satellites

The following is written in my textbook as the reason for weightlessness felt in satellites: The gravitational pull is counterbalanced by the centripetal force. This introduces two problems: ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Can a mouse rotating a wheel violate conservation of angular momentum?

I have been thinking on the following problem. Part I. Imagine we have a mouse enclosed in a rigid box. We placed the box on a frictionless surface (ice might be a good example). Can the box start ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How does Newtonian mechanics explain why orbiting objects do not fall to the object they are orbiting?

The force of gravity is constantly being applied to an orbiting object. And therefore the object is constantly accelerating. Why doesn't gravity eventually "win" over the object's momentum, like a ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

Calculating the force required to lift a weight with a screw

I am trying to learn physics by myself as I do not have a good teacher at school. I've been reading Feynman Lectures on Physics and I can't figure out how he found out this number. Here is an excerpt ...
10
votes
5answers
8k views

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
618 views

infinite grid of planets with newtonian gravity

Assuming only Newtonian gravity, suppose that the universe consists of an infinite number of uniform planets, uniformly distributed in a two-dimensional grid infinite in both directions and not moving ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Deriving Newton's Third Law from homogeneity of Space

I am following the first volume of the course of theoretical physics by Landau. So, whatever I say below mainly talks regarding the first 2 chapters of Landau and the approach of deriving Newton's ...
10
votes
2answers
444 views

What if the lid of a pressure cooker was suddenly released?

My dad and I have tried to calculate the strength of the explosion if the lid was suddenly freed. We took some measures: Lid mass: $0.7 \textrm{kg}$ Lid surface: $0.415 \textrm{m}^2$ Internal ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Why don't lakes have tides?

There's a tidal effect that we can clearly observe in oceans, which is the effect of gravity from the Sun and the Moon. If gravity affects everything equally, why don't lakes have tides?
10
votes
5answers
5k views

Why are bicycle pedal threads' handedness left on the left and right on the right?

I understand the reason that bicycle pedals are oppositely threaded on either side. What I don't understand is why it works because I'm missing something. Take the right pedal for example. It's ...
10
votes
2answers
22k views

How is distance between sun and earth calculated?

How has the distance between sun and earth been calculated? Also what is the size of the sun?
10
votes
3answers
858 views

Can Lagrangian mechanics be justified without referring to Newtonian mechanics?

Are there any ways of justifying Lagrangian mechanics as a foundation of classical physics, without referring to Newtonian mechanics? In other words, what is the deeper reason or intuition why ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

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: $$ mgd\sin(\theta)=-I\ddot\theta $$ ...
10
votes
4answers
9k views

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, ...
10
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
528 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
800 views

Why isn't temperature frame dependent?

In (non-relativistic) classical physics, if the temperature of an object is proportional to the average kinetic energy ${1 \over 2} m\overline {v^{2}}$of its particles (or molecules), then shouldn't ...
10
votes
2answers
218 views

Can the coefficient of friction be derived from fundamentals?

It is common to want to derive macroscopic laws from what we know microscopically - after all, given a (correct) microscopic description, everything larger should follow. Has it ever been done to ...
10
votes
1answer
633 views

How can a planet gravitationally capture objects?

I would expect that any asteroid or other object originating far away but passing near a planet would pick up speed and energy as it approaches, but unless it comes into contact with the atmosphere ...
10
votes
3answers
6k views

Can superconducting magnets fly (or repel the earth's core)?

If a superconducting magnet and appropriate power supply had just enough $I\cdot s$ (current $\cdot$ length) so that when it was perpendicular to the earth's magnetic field, the force of the ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How to calculate the number of glass sheets that will be broken by a falling object?

In season 1, episode 7 of King of the nerds the contestants are asked to calculate how many sheets of glass will be broken by a falling object. They are shown 1 example case and then asked to ...
10
votes
3answers
364 views

Is ordering players by height beneficial in a game of tug of war?

This can be considered a follow-up turn-around question for this similar question. I recently came across this interesting analysis of the game of tug of war. One of the closing discussions is the ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

In circular motion, with a constant distance, why does the mass of the orbitting object have no effect on its revolution at all?

Using Newton's universal equation and some circular motion equation, the orbiting object's mass cancels out. But can someone please explain why this is without using pure algebra?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
9
votes
4answers
33k views

Which is easier, pushing or pulling?

It is generally assumed, from a person's perspective, that pushing a cart is more easier than pulling one. But why? Is there any difference in terms of force required to achieve the same amount of ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
9
votes
4answers
7k views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What does it mean when physical theories are inconsistent?

I am hoping that someone can explain in layman terms why Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's equations are inconsistent. Wikipedia says that this inconsistency is what led to the development of ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Will the box move?

Here is a man in a box with wheels on a frictionless surface. Case 1 - The person constantly pushes the box while standing near its wall. Why doesn’t it move? (I know it is because of the 3rd law, ...
9
votes
3answers
511 views

What does Feynman mean when he says that $F=ma$ is not exact?

Chapter 12-2 in Feynman Lectures Vol. 1 states: In fact the law, $F=ma$ is not exactly true; if it were a definition we should have to say that it is always true; but it is not ... First, ...