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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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's the exact gravitational force between spherically symmetric masses?

Consider spherical symmetric$^1$ masses of radii $R_1$ and $R_2$, with spherical symmetric density distributions $\rho_1(r_1)$ and $\rho_2(r_2)$, and with a distance between the centers of the spheres ...
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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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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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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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251 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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781 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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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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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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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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What is the physical significance of the off-diagonal moment of inertia matrix elements?

The tensor of moment of inertia contains six off-diagonal matrix elements, which vanishes if we choose the principle axis of the rotating rigid body and the components of the angular momentum vector ...
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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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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?
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Why do objects sometimes fall on their own?

I have observed sometimes that when I keep some objects precariously balanced, for e.g. some objects in a cupboard, they seem quite stable at the time when I place them there but after a certain ...
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Is there any dynamical reason for the winter solstice to happen close to the perihelion?

When the winter solstice arrives, the angular momentum of the Earth, its orbital angular momentum and its radius vector with the orbital focus in the Sun are in the same plane. This happens quite ...
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Acceleration in $F=ma$

I tried to ask this question in Electrical Engineering Stackexchange but was told I was better asking here. Newton's Second Law of Motion states that the vector sum of the forces $\mathbf{F}$ on an ...
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Confusion with derivation of fictitious forces

I read the mathematical derivation of fictitious forces on Wikipedia and I'm having trouble understanding it. I went on a few other sites looking for a better derivation, but they're all basically the ...
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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.
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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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Why is centrifugal 'force' perpendicular to line of inertia

I know that centrifugal is labeled a fictitious force only arising in a rotating reference frame, but I still struggle to understand the forces at play intuitively in tethered rotating bodies. I've ...
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Conservation of angular momentum for a rigid body rotating about a fixed point

Picture a rigid body such as a sledge hammer. Imagine that the base of the handle is attached to a fixed point such that it can rotate but not translate. I give the hammer a good push to get it ...
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When falling through the air, does swinging arms/legs actually help anything?

Let's say someone jumps off an Olympic-sized diving board into a pool below (so air resistance is negligible). As soon as they jump, they start swinging their arms. Does this help them stay upright ...
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How does my kitchen scale know I'm holding it?

If I switch on my electronic kitchen scale while it's on the table, it reads 0 grams. If I pick it up, it reads around -500 grams. Conversely if I switch it on in my hand it tares to 0g and then reads ...
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When is the principle of virtual work valid?

The principle of virtual work says that forces of constraint don't do net work under virtual displacements that are consistent with constraints. Goldstein says something I don't understand. He says ...
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How does placing objects in liquids affect the mass?

I was dazing off in my physics class when I came up with this question and I was wondering about it all day. I could not provide myself with an adequate solution, so here I am asking the forum about ...
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Is there a good Modern English translation of Newton's “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica” available for free viewing or download?

I have found several nice versions available for purchase, but all of the free ones are either Latin, old English, or pixellated. I searched google and was only able to locate the free ones linked to ...
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Why does this screwdriver roll in a curved trajectory?

I am trying my level best to give this screwdriver a horizontal push only, but it is going in a circular path. I thought of uneven friction due to non-uniform normal reaction...what do you think? I ...
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How do levers amplify forces?

This is really bothering me for a long time, because the math is easy to do, but it's still unintuitive for me. I understand the "law of the lever" and I can do the math and use the torques, or ...
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Meaning of the word “Moment”?

This question is more of a question about the origin of a physical term moment used in many contexts. My question is about the linguistic or historical meaning of the word "moment". Please don't ...
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Terminal velocity?

I am having a problem with a particular concept. Here is where I have gotten, since the ball never loses contact with the stair, it will rotate around through the edges, the edges being the pivot, ...