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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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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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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495 views

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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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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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 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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396 views

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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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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275 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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219 views

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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935 views

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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506 views

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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3answers
577 views

Energy needed for Superman to take off and fly at the speed of sound

I just watched "Man of Steel", and I'm wondering if my logic is correct. Let's assume Superman is 80 kg. The energy required to take off from the rest to reach the speed of sound in air (if I neglect ...
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4answers
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Rope tension question

If two ends of a rope are pulled with forces of equal magnitude and opposite direction, the tension at the center of the rope must be zero. True or false? The answer is false. I chose true though and ...
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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. ...
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1k views

Kinetic energy of an object at rest

Why don't we consider that an object on Earth has kinetic energy as it is also moving at the rotating speed of Earth?
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628 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 ...
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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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Distribution of Gravitational Force on a non-rotating oblate spheroid

Suppose a person is standing on a non-rotating oblate spheroid. He first stands on one of the poles, then on the equator. In which case is the gravitational force greater? In Case 1, the distance ...
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Does Newtonian mechanics predict the bending of the course of light by objects with mass?

$F=Gm_1m_2/d^2$ $F=ma$ $a_g=Gm_{other}/d^2$ In Newtonian mechanics, the acceleration of object A toward object B is not dependent on the mass of object A but on the mass of object B and the ...
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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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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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If you could ride an elevator through the earth [duplicate]

What if it was possible to ride an elevator straight through earth. If we take all the heat and pressure problems away, and assume it would be possible: What would happen with gravity? Would gravity ...
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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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Logical connection of Newton's Third Law to the first two

The first law and second laws of motion are obviously connected. But it seems to me that the third law is not related to the first two, at least logically. (In Kleppner's Mechanics the author states ...
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549 views

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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Will a bullet dropped and a bullet fired from a gun horizontally REALLY hit the ground at the same time when air drag is taken into account?

In a world without air, I understand they definitely would. However, with drag taken into account, I think they wouldn't. Since the drag force varies proportional to the square of speed (ignoring the ...
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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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A Basic Question about Gravity, Inertia or Momentum or something along those lines

Why is it that if I'm sitting on a seat on a bus or train and its moving quite fast, I am able to throw something in the air and easily catch it? Why is it that I haven't moved 'past' the thing during ...
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Hit by two cars with same momentum but different mass. Which is more painful?

Suppose they have the same contact area with you. The term "painful" is a bit ambiguous. Let me ask in another way: Two cars with same momentum but different masses are going to hit a wall. You ...
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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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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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Second law of Newton for variable mass systems

Frequently I see the expression $$F = \frac{dp}{dt} = \frac{d}{dt}(mv) = \frac{dm}{dt}v + ma,$$ which can be applied to variable mass systems. But I'm wondering if this derivation is correct, ...
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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 ...
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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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3answers
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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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419 views

Impact force in a fall

I'm a climber and I constructed myself an anchor that I fixed to a rock wall. To test it, I hooked to it a 12mm in section steel cable with a length of 2,8m and a concrete block of 30kg to the other ...
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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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Will a rocket produce more thrust if fired in air, rather than vacuum?

I've been in an argument with a friend. He claims that when a rocket engine is fired in air, it get significantly more thrust due to the rocket pushing gas into the atmosphere, and the atmosphere ...