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 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, ...
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276 views

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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1answer
837 views

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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1answer
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Solving a statically indeterminate truss

I'm trying to solve the statically indeterminate truss shown below and I'm having a little trouble. $H$, $P$ and $\beta$ are given. The material is aluminum (density is 2700 ${kg/m^3}$) and has a ...
20
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1answer
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What determines the angle of the cushion on a pool table?

If you look at the cushions (bumpers) on a pool table, you'll see that they're not vertical. They're tilted inwards. About 10 years ago, I came across a physics exam in which one of the problems ...
19
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1answer
686 views

What happens, if a rocket is filled with a vacuum instead of high pressured air?

Suppose you put wheels under a compressed air tank so that it can move horizontally to the right and to the left. Suppose there is a nozzle on the right hand side of the tank (in the picture on the ...
18
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4answers
3k views

Why do whips hurt so much?

What exactly is the mechanism that makes a whip deliver such a strong impact? Elasticity, torque, or pressure? Just hitting something with a plank doesn't deal nearly as much damage. What's the ...
13
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6answers
22k views

Is Melancholia's orbit impossible?

In the 2011 movie Melancholia, a planet, also called Melancholia, enters the solar system and hits the Earth. I want to leave aside the (also unreasonable) aspect that planet "hides behind the Sun" ...
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5answers
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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 ...
7
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6answers
10k 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 ...
7
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9answers
2k 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 ...
5
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5answers
7k views

Why there is a 1/2 in kinetic energy formula? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is there a $\frac 1 2$ in $\frac 1 2 mv^2$? Hèllo, I have a question about kinetic energy formula. As you know, in kinetic energy formula, we have: ...
5
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3answers
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Book suggestions for foundation of Newtonian Mechanics

I'm not looking for books which deal with the mathematical foundations of Newtonian mechanics. What I'm looking for are modern books which deal with conceptual foundations of Newtonian mechanics - by ...
4
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1answer
342 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 ...
3
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1answer
430 views

How to understand Feynman's reasoning about perpetual motion?

I'm studying Feynman's Lectures on Physics, and I'm not really understanding his reasoning here: Consider weight-lifting machines $\overline{}$ machines which have the property that they lift one ...
3
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3answers
3k views

Two people pushing off each other

If there are two people on ice skates named $A$ and $B$, and $A$ pushes on $B$ with a force $F_A$, then both of them will experience a force of magnitude $F_A$ in opposite directions. I'm confused as ...
2
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5answers
438 views

Motivation for form of Lagrangian

This question (in lagrangian mechanics) might be silly, but why is the Lagrangian L defined as: $L = T - V$? I understand that the total mechanical energy of an isolated system is conserved, and that ...
0
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2answers
186 views

An intuitive proof of Bertrand's theorem

Is there a way to see that Bertrand's theorem is true intuitively. I mean without getting into too much mathematics ?
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2answers
3k views

When does not Newton's 3rd law apply?

Is Newton's 3rd law valid in non-inertial frames? If so, then are there other cases for which Newton's 3rd law is not applicable?
23
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6answers
4k views

Why do heavier objects fall faster in air?

We all know that in an idealised world all objects accelerate at the same rate when dropped regardless of their mass. We also know that in reality (or more accurately, in air) a lead feather falls ...
13
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2answers
1k views

An example which contradict to Newton's 3rd law?

Let a,b be two charged particles. $$\vec{r}_a(0)=\vec{0}$$ $$\vec{r}_b(0)=r\hat{j}$$ $$\vec{v}_a(t)=v_a \hat{i}$$ $$\vec{v}_b(t)=v_b\hat{j}$$ In which both $v_a$ and $v_b$ $<<c$. Then ...
11
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4answers
936 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 ?
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8answers
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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. ...
6
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4answers
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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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2answers
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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 ...
5
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1answer
214 views

Elementary derivation of the motion equations for an inverted pendulum on a cart

Consider a cart of mass $M$ constrained to move on the horizontal axis. A massless rod is attached to the midpoint of the cart, having a mass $m$ on its endpoint. See wikipedia for a picture and for a ...
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2answers
2k views

How to calculate a ballistic trajectory for a suborbital flight?

I'm trying to calculate the initial launch angles and velocity of a projectile (atmosphere's effects can be neglected), assuming that I know the lat/lon coordinates of both the launch and the ...
4
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3answers
200 views

Finding the equation of motion of anharmonic potential [closed]

If I have a potential given by: $$U=U_0\left[2\left(\frac xa\right)^2-\left(\frac xa\right)^4\right]$$ It says that at $t=0$, the particle is at the origin ($x=0$) and the velocity is positive and ...
4
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2answers
259 views

Thrust center in space

I have this dilemma: Suppose you have a space ship somewhere in deep space, where there is no drag force or substantial gravity. If the ship has a single engine situated in such a way that the center ...
3
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2answers
92 views

How to calculate wasted energy

Suppose you are pulling a weight along a track at an angle (in the picture 45°). If the object is dislocated by a distance $D_{45}$ let's assume that the mechanical work done on/energy transmitted to ...
3
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0answers
848 views

Effective mass in Spring-with-mass/mass system

Suppose you have a particle of mass $m$ fixed to a spring of mass $m_0$ that, in turn, is fixed to some wall. I'm trying to calculate the effective mass $m'$ that appears in the law of motion of the ...
3
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1answer
258 views

Showing constraint is nonholonomic

One example of a nonholonomic constraint is a disk rolling around in the cartesian plane that is constrained to not be slipping. These leads to the constraint $dx - a \sin\theta d\phi = 0$ and $dy - ...
2
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1answer
2k views

How to understand the work-energy theorem?

How to understand the work-energy theorem? I took a short lecture on physics for engineering last week. The lecturer emphasized that the work done on an object will cause the kinetic energy change as ...
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3answers
1k views

Why airplanes fly: the final truth

The questions about the reasons the aircraft fly are frequent among scientist, since the high school until now, even if I work on the other side of fluid mysterious world (the Low Reynolds numbers ...
0
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0answers
103 views

Tension in a chain fountain

I was reading the following paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.4056 There were a few things I couldn't follow: 1) Equation (0.1) $T_C/r=\lambda v^2/r$ I understand this takes the form of ...
12
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2answers
857 views

Throwing a ball upwards in an accelerating train

If I throw a ball upwards to a certain height in an accelerating train, will it end up in my hand? At the moment I release the ball, it will have a velocity equal to that of the train at that instant. ...
11
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1answer
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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 ...
10
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4answers
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Why don't planets have Circular orbits?

This might be a completely wrong question, but this is bothering me since many days ago. Given the mass (Sun) curves the space around it, gravitation is the result of such curved space (Correct me if ...
8
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4answers
564 views

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 ...
7
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6answers
461 views

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 ...
6
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1answer
770 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?
6
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2answers
275 views

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?
5
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2answers
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Perfectly centered break of a perfectly aligned pool ball rack

Imagine the beginning of a game of pool, you have 16 balls, 15 of them in a triangle <| and 1 of them being the cue ball off to the left of that triangle. Imagine that the rack (the 15 balls in a ...
5
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3answers
7k views

How do I calculate DC motor speed for a given load?

Suppose I have a robot of a given mass, and I'm choosing between 2 different wheels and 2 different motors to put on it. For each wheel I have the diameter, and for each motor I know the stall torque ...
4
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3answers
233 views

What factors determine whether wind resistance will have an important effect?

What factors determine whether or not wind resistance will have an important effect on the trajectory of a projectile?
4
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1answer
212 views

Physics of Carving on a Skateboard

How does carving on a skateboard work, why is it easier to carve on a longboard as opposed to a shortboard? I feel like I'm more prone to hurt myself trying to carve or throw my weight out on a ...
4
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3answers
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Why does the tension on the pulley in an Atwood machine not equal $(m_1 + m_2)g$?

Consider the following simple Atwood machine with an ideal pulley and an ideal string According to my textbook, the tension on the clamp that holds the machine to the wall equals $2T$. I don't ...
4
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3answers
237 views

Non-SHM oscillatory motion

How to solve these kind of questions , where $|F| \propto x^2$? How to find time period and velocity type related things to the oscillatory motion? ...
4
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2answers
424 views

Would a sneeze by a cosmonaut in a spacesuit affect his movement?

Naive question; feel free to shoot me down It is a truism that any motion in space would continue indefinitely unless it is opposed by an external force. If a cosmonaut were to sneeze within his/her ...
4
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1answer
242 views

How to write classical dynamics of solids in tensor form (relation of stiffness and viscosity tensor)?

This is a question about dynamics. If I have understood correctly there should be a tensor that describes the dynamics of a (solid?) body (= viscosity ?). I mean, tensor that includes the time ...