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)

0
votes
2answers
188 views

Constant of gravity in earth fixed coordinate system

I have this problem: If the constant of gravity is measured to be $g_0$ in an earth fixed coordinate system, what is the difference $g-g_0$ where $g$ is the real constant of gravity as ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Linear motion with variable acceleration

Consider the following problem I pull a mass m resting at x = 0 on a frictionless table connected to a spring with some k by an amount A and let it go. What will be its speed at x=0? I know how to ...
155
votes
11answers
24k views

Why are four-legged chairs so common?

Four-legged chairs are by far the most common form of chair. However, only three legs are necessary to maintain stability whilst sitting on the chair. If the chair were to tilt, then with both a four-...
51
votes
8answers
26k views

Proof that the Earth rotates?

What is the proof, without leaving the Earth, and involving only basic physics, that the earth rotates around its axis? By basic physics I mean the physics that the early physicists must've used to ...
65
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do travelling waves continue after amplitude sum = 0?

My professor asked an interesting question at the end of the last class, but I can't figure out the answer. The question is this (recalled from memory): There are two travelling wave pulses moving in ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

Is there an intuitive reason the brachistochrone and the tautochrone are the same curve?

The brachistochrone problem asks what shape a hill should be so a ball slides down in the least time. The tautochrone problem asks what shape yields an oscillation frequency that is independent of ...
15
votes
6answers
6k views

Is the energy conserved in a moving frame of reference?

Consider this situation: When the box is at the bottom of the frictionless incline, it will have a velocity of $v_f$. The person is an inertial frame of reference that moves at a constant ...
45
votes
5answers
7k views

Why is the Moon considered the major cause of tides, even though it is weaker than the Sun?

You have likely read in books that tides are mainly caused by the Moon. When the Moon is high in the sky, it pulls the water on the Earth upward and a high-tide happens. There is some similar effect ...
34
votes
4answers
2k views

Intuition as to why the orientation (of a 3D object) is not a conserved quantity?

Say you start off floating in space, in a fixed position and orientation, with zero linear and angular velocity, with no external forces. So you are a closed mechanical system. By twisting your body ...
25
votes
9answers
6k views

Physical meaning of the angular momentum

Still reading Classical Mechanics by Goldstein, I'm struggling on a very basic notion: angular momentum. I physically understand it as the momentum of an object rotating around something given a ...
16
votes
3answers
7k views

Is the normal force a conservative force?

Most of the time the normal force doesn't do any work because it's perpendicular to the direction of motion but if it does do work, would it be conservative or non-conservative? For example, consider ...
16
votes
10answers
31k views

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 ...
8
votes
5answers
45k views

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 $\mu_k$ ...
38
votes
6answers
57k views

Could someone jump from the international space station and live?

Felix Baumgartner just completed his breathtaking free-fall skydiving jump from $120,000\,\text{feet} = 39\,\text{km}$ above the Earth, breaking the speed of sound during the process. I was wondering ...
9
votes
5answers
11k views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
765 views

Where does the reaction to action come from?

Third Newton's law, $F_{1->2} = -F_{2->1}$ So, how does a body react with the same force that it's receiving from the acting body? Is it the electric interactions at the subatomic level? When ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

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?
26
votes
4answers
2k views

The physical definition of work seems paradoxical

So this is possibly a misunderstanding of the meaning of work, but all the Physics texts, sites, and wiki that I've read don't clear this up for me: In the simplest case with the simplest statement, ...
19
votes
12answers
5k views

How can the contact point of rolling body have zero velocity?

They say that for a rolling body, the velocity of the contact point is zero. I'm not getting this. How can it be zero when it's in continuous motion?
6
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
4answers
696 views

A confusion regarding an example in The Feynman Lectures

In The Feynman Lectures, In the chapter entitled Work and potential energy, Feynman states: The work done in going around any path in a gravitational field is zero. This is a very remarkable ...
16
votes
3answers
6k views

Why are Saturn's rings so thin?

Take a look at this picture (from APOD http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110308.html): I presume that rocks within rings smash each other. Below the picture there is a note which says that Saturn's rings ...
10
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
12k views

Why can't a rope be pulled completely straight?

I have found several discussions on how to calculate the sag of rope that is tied off at two points (like a tightrope), and I understand it to a certain extent. What I can't wrap my head around is how ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Newton's Third Law Exceptions?

Lately I've been brushing up on some of my old Physics texts from college. Most recently, I've been rereading parts of "Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems (5th ed.)" by Thornton and Marion. ...
8
votes
8answers
7k views

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. ...
7
votes
2answers
905 views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Is acceleration an absolute quantity?

I would like to know if acceleration is an absolute quantity, and if so why?
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Analyzing the motion of a ball rolling without slipping inside a hemispherical bowl

Consider a solid ball of radius $r$ and mass $m$ rolling without slipping in a hemispherical bowl of radius $R$ (simple back and forth motion). Now, I assume the oscillations are small and so the ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Time period of simple pendulum with varying mass

How do you find time period as a function of time for a simple pendulum that is in the form of a hollow sphere that is filled with mercury and there is a hole in the bottom through which the mercury ...
22
votes
3answers
693 views

How many points are required to make a black box

I have a black box with an arbitrary mass distribution inside it. I want to replace that object with n point masses without changing any mechanical properties of the box (center of mass, total mass, ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

How does one determine an inertial frame?

How does one determine whether one is in an inertial frame? An inertial frame is one on which a particle with no force on it travels in a straight line. But how does one determine that no forces are ...
11
votes
10answers
3k views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
24k 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?
9
votes
4answers
36k 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

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, ...
8
votes
7answers
903 views

Distribution of Gravitational Force on a *non-rotating* oblate spheroid

Suppose a person is standing on a non-rotating$^1$ oblate spheroid of uniform density. He first stands on one of the poles, then on the equator. In which case is the gravitational force greater? In ...
8
votes
7answers
2k views

Why does a conservative force return the work done against it by a body to that body?

Newton's 3rd law of motion: Newton's third law of motion or the law of action and reaction implies that there is no isolated force in nature. Whenever there is any force at all , there must be ...
8
votes
6answers
5k views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
528 views

Moment of Inertia, why $r^2$and not $r$?

So my engineering mechanics book includes a brief discussion on area moments of inertia. Unfortunately, the ensuing chapter is predominately computational in nature. I don't have a thorough grasp of ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

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)?
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Proving angular momentum is conserved for a particle moving in a central force field $\vec F =\phi(r) \vec r$

A problem I am trying to work out is as follows: A particle moves in a force field given by $\vec F =\phi(r) \vec r$. Prove that the angular momentum of the particle about the origin is constant. ...
4
votes
1answer
528 views

Some questions about the logics of the principles of independence of motion and composition of motion

In high-school level textbooks* one encounters often the principles of independence of motion and that of composition (or superpositions) of motions. In this context this is used as "independence of ...
6
votes
3answers
990 views

What in Newton's three laws of motion is original and not a paraphrasing of his predecessors?

The three laws are: First law: The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force. Second law: The acceleration a of a body is parallel[disambiguation needed ]...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Explaining Newton's Laws of motion to a 6 year old

An old professor of mine once said that an effective means to get people interested in Physics is to get them started early. What would be an effective and meaningful (and fun) means to explain ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How is the equation of motion on an ellipse derived?

I would like to show that a particle orbiting another will follow the trajectory \begin{equation} r = \frac{a(1-e^2)}{1 + e \cos(\theta)}. \end{equation} I would like to do this with minimal ...
4
votes
1answer
383 views

Variation in measurements of $g$ on the Earth's surface due to the Moon's gravity

A book, Exercises for the Feynman Lectures on Physics, has recently been published. It consists of homework problems to provide practice with the techniques and concepts used in the famous Feynman ...
4
votes
4answers
983 views

Won't the test charge disturb the electric field to be measured?

As written in Principles of Physics by Halliday, Resnick and Walker: The electric field is a vector field; it consists of a distribution of vectors,one for each point in the region around a ...
4
votes
4answers
16k views

Static as opposed to Kinetic Friction in Rolling Motion

During analysis of rolling motion, why do we consider coefficient of friction as that of static friction and not kinetic friction?
4
votes
4answers
5k views

A simple derivation of the Centripetal Acceleration Formula?

Could someone show me a simple and intuitive derivation of the Centripetal Acceleration Formula $a=v^2/r$, preferably one that does not involve calculus or advanced trigonometry?