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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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Explanation that air drag is proportional to speed or square speed?

A falling object with no initial velocity with mass $m$ is influenced by a gravitational force $g$ and the drag (air resistance) which is proportional to the object's speed. By Newton´s laws this can ...
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When driving uphill why can't I reach a velocity that I would have been able to maintain if I started with it?

Consider these two situations when driving on a long straight road uphill: Starting at a high velocity $v_h$, which the car is able to maintain. Starting at a lower velocity $v_l$, and then trying ...
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Trouble with classical mechanics self-learning (How to avoid going down the Physics rabbit hole?) [duplicate]

I'm a retired police officer trying to learn classical mechanics on my own. I have gone through many links on the Internet including the classical mechanics quick reference textbooks from Physics ...
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A fly in an accelerating car

A fly is flying around in a car, the fly never touches any surface in the car only fly’s around in the air inside the car. The car accelerates. does the fly slam in to the rear window. or does the fly ...
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What determines whether a pool ball will bouce backwards after colliding with another pool ball?

I'm no knowledgeable pool player, but I've noticed that sometimes when the cue ball hits another pool ball, they roll together; and sometimes the cue ball bounces back. And I have a very, very rough ...
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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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How does escape velocity relate to energy and speed?

I have several confusions regarding escape velocity. I am sure I am missing something(s) obvious or maybe I am taught wrong. Lets say we throw an object of any mass at exactly escape velocity of ...
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Leading-order cause of diurnal (not semidiurnal) variations in $g$?

The following graph shows the result of a very impressive differential measurement of the gravitational field in Boulder, Colorado, over a period of a couple of days. Floris got it from a ...
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Camp Fire Crackle

I was sitting around the camp fire and there was a periodic sound of cracking and pieces of the burning wood flew off. My question is what is the mechanism for the cracking of the wood? I was thinking ...
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What do people actually mean by “rolling without slipping”?

I have never understood what's the meaning of the sentence "rolling without slipping". Let me explain. I'll give an example. Yesterday my mechanics professor introduced some concepts of rotational ...
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How to guess the content of a christmas present?

Let us assume that the present does not make any recognizable sounds when shaken (meow splat - the present now contains a dead kitten). Let us furthermore assume ...
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How do we know if a formulation of classical mechanics is correct?

For example, the Lagrangian formulation. I may be missing something, i.e. not having done it in enough detail, but here is my issue: from the definition of the lagrangian ($\mathcal{L}$) and from ...
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Tidal force on far side

I have a question about tidal forces on the far side of a body experiencing gravitational attraction from another body. Let's assume we have two spherical bodies $A$ and $B$ whose centers are $D$ ...
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694 views

Is Einstein's Special Relativity completely inclusive of Newton's 3 laws of motion?

Relativity has always been explained to me (in books I've read, etc) as a superset of newton's laws - that is; it encapsulates all of Newton's mechanics in addition to other effects (observer effect, ...
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One strategy in a snowball fight

Here's a common college physics problem: One strategy in a snowball fight is to throw a first snowball at a high angle over level ground. While your opponent is watching the first one, you ...
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Which direction will the yoyo move?

This question has been around the net for a while, and I haven't seen a good explanation for it: A yo-yo is initially at rest on a horizontal surface. A string is pulled in the direction shown in ...
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How do traveling waves pass through a standing wave node, if the node doesn't move?

I'm having trouble with the explanation that a standing wave in a string is the superposition of traveling waves. The nodes in the diagram above are points where the particles of the string's ...
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Could a universe with purely Newtonian mechanics exist?

I've heard about the fine-tuning principle and how if the fundamental constants of the Universe were changed even a slight bit, life could not exist as we know it. However, study on this subject ...
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254 views

Falling through the rotating Earth

Suppose you were standing on the rotating Earth (not necessarily Equator or the poles) and suddenly your body lost the ability to avoid effortlessly passing through solid rock. Because the earth's ...
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896 views

In mechanics, is shock really better expressed as jerk instead of acceleration?

Some expensive electronics or mechanical devices are designed to be shock-resistant. However, the manufacturers often market the level of shock-resistance in units of g-force (I know g-force is really ...
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Mass Needed to Clear an Orbital Neighborhood

In 2006 the IAU deemed that Pluto was no longer a planet because it fails to "clear" the neighborhood around its Kuiper Belt orbit. Presumably, this is because Pluto (1.305E22 kg) has insufficient ...
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Equation for the trajectory of a frisbee?

I'm the lead programmer on a FIRST robotics team, and this year's competition is about throwing Frisbees. I was wondering if there was some sort of "grand unified equation" for Frisbee trajectory that ...
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Find the minimum value of velocity [closed]

Find the minimum value of the initial velocity $u$ of the particle such that the particle crosses the wheel of radius $R$. Details and assumptions $R=2m$ $g=9.8m/s^2$ Neglect air resistance. All ...
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Tension in string due to surface tension

Suppose you take a loop of string and place it on the surface of a liquid, the string should become taut due to surface tension. How would you be able to calculate the tension in the loop of string? ...
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What is the cause of the normal force? [duplicate]

I've been wondering, what causes the normal force to exist? In class the teacher never actually explains it, he just says "It has to be there because something has to counter gravity." While I ...
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How to explain independence of momentum and energy conservation in elementary terms?

I'm trying to explain to someone learning elementary physics (16 year old) that linear momentum and energy are conserved independently. I'm not a professional physicist and haven't tried to explain ...
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If it was possible to dig a hole that went from one side of the Earth to the other…

...And you jumped in. What would happen when you got to the middle of the Earth? Would you gradually slow down, until you got to the middle and once you were in middle would every direction feel like ...
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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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Can you completely explain acceleration to me?

I understand what acceleration is, and I know the formula, and I understand it's a vector. I just don't understand how the equation works exactly. I'm kind of picky, I know, but bear with me. ...
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Electron shells in atoms: What causes them to exist as they do?

I have seen similar posts, but I haven't seen what seems to be a clear and direct answer. Why do only a certain number of electrons occupy each shell? Why are the shells arranged in certain distances ...
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Can an object accelerate to infinite speed in FINITE time (Newtonian)?

Obviously this is impossible in relativity; however, if we ignore relativity and use only Newtonian mechanics, is this possible? How (or why not)?
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What exactly is $F$ in $W = \int_{a}^{b} F dx$?

I am trying to teach myself some basic physics, here is something I do not really understand about the definition of work: When moving from $a$ to $b$ (in one dimension), the work done is defined to ...
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What happens when the spacecraft velocity equals the velocity at it's exhaust?

So there I was resting me eyes thinking about rocket drives, and what-not. The thought struck me that, perhaps, even before Mr. Einstein interferes with the increasing velocity of the spacecraft Mr. ...
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Why is there this asymmetry between the two foci of an orbital ellipse?

Why does the Earth revolve with the Sun at one of its foci? Does the other focus do nothing? Why is there this asymmetry in our solar system?
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Why don't we consider centrifugal force on a mass placed on earth?

Let us say a block of mass is placed on the surface of earth. Then while drawing the forces on that body, we say: Force $F = mg$ acting towards the center of Earth. Normal reaction $N$ offered by ...
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Infinities in Newtons law of gravity (for point particles)

Newtons law of gravity for two particles of mass $m_1$ and $m_2$ is: $G\frac{m_1.m_2}{r^2}$. Supposing that the particles are point particles then gravitional attraction will bring them closer ...
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Why do the stars in the galaxy core move so fast?

There are a bunch of stars orbiting the black hole in the center of our galaxy. These stars move at huge speed. Why do we see this? Why do the black hole not impose any noticeable time dilation on ...
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Which force is responsible for victory in tug of war?

I'm confused: In a tug of war game on rough ground who will win? The one who applies greater force on the rope or the one who applies greater force on ground?
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Proving Kepler's 1st Law without differential equations

Is there a way to show that motion of Earth around the Sun is elliptical (Kepler's 1st law) from Newton's laws without resorting to the use of differential equations of motion?