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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What is the cause of centripetal/centrifugal force?

What is the cause of centripetal/centrifugal force? When an object of mass $m$ is moved in a circular orbit, it experiences a centrifugal force radially away from the center. What is the cause of this ...
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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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Why is a book on a table not an example of Newton's third law?

My textbook explains Newton's Third Law like this: If an object A exterts a force on object B, then object B exerts an equal but opposite force on object A It then says: Newton's 3rd law ...
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Put a bullet into orbit around the moon

While I was watching this beautiful video, the absence of air friction pushed me to ask myself: While standing on the surface of the moon, what is the initial velocity by which you can fire a bullet ...
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Static Friction - Only thing that can accelerate a train?

I'm a computer programmer that never studied physics in school and now it's coming back to bite me a bit in some of the stuff I'm being asked to program. I'm trying to self study some physics and ...
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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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Would a bicycle stay upright if moving on a treadmill and why?

I suspect not, because moving forward (or backwards for that matter) is an important part, but I would like to confirm. UPDATE: Clearly it's possible ...
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How long would a lever have to be to move the planet Earth?

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. -Archimedes How long would that lever have to be? That is to say, how long a lever ...
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Is the gravitational potential of a planet in orbit always equal to minus the squared velocity?

Say a planet (mass $m$) is orbiting a star (mass $M$) in a perfect circle, so it is in circular motion. $F=ma$ and the gravitational force between two masses $F=\frac{GMm}{r^2}$ so ...
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In a universe where the speed of light is infinite, are relativistic models and Newtonian models equivalent?

Take our universe. Observations are consistent with relativity, but not consistent with Newtonian mechanics. Assume that our current (relativistic) model of gravitation is correct. Now increase $c$ ...
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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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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. ...
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Effect of the tail of the cat in the falling cat problem

To explain why a falling cat can turn by 180 degree without external torque and without violation of the conservation of angular momentum, one usually models the cat as two cylinders as in ...
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What is the force on the arms in a pushup?

What force do the arms have to generate to do a pushup? Let us look a this simplified model: The body can be represented by the green plank of mass B. Its angle to the ground is $\theta$. This ...
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What is the maximum efficiency of a trebuchet?

Using purely gravitational potential energy, what is the highest efficiency one can achieve with a trebuchet counter-weight type of machine? Efficiency defined here as transformation of potential ...
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What is the proof that a force applied on a rigid body will cause it to rotate around its center of mass?

Say I have a rigid body in space. I've read that if I during some short time interval apply a force on the body at some point which is not in line with the center of mass, it would start rotating ...
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How fast do you have to spin an egg to have it standing?

If you take a hardboiled egg and put it on a table and start to spin it, if you spin it fast enough it will start to spin in an upright position. What is the angular velocity needed for this ...
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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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Pulling apart two interleaved phone books

The TV show Mythbusters had an episode in which they interleaved two phone books and dramatized how hard it was to pull them apart. (A long time ago, a phone book was a book that had an index of phone ...
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What makes a wrist-energized gyroscope rotate faster?

I'm considering a wrist-energized gyroscope, shown below (after my daughter let it fall and it broke open). That one was sold as Roller Ball, but variants are known as Powerball, DynaBee, Dynaball, ...
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Do higher-order mass moments have any physical meaning?

The zeroth moment of mass of an object is simply its total mass. The first moment of mass yields an object's center of gravity (after normalization). The second moment of mass yields an object's ...
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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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Ball flying towards me or me flying towards ball

Suppose a ball is flying towards me at a speed of 10m/s and that, on impact, I feel "x" amount of pain. If, instead, it was me flying towards the ball at the same speed, with all other conditions ...
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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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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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Does a truck stop faster if the stack on the back of truck is stable or if it moves forward?

My question in the title might not be very descriptive so I am re-writing it here: If there is a truck in motion and it has stack of hay (lets suppose) on the back. Now if the truck comes to a sudden ...
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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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What creates the chaotic motion on a double pendulum?

As we know, The double pendulum has a chaotic motion. But, why is this? I mean, the mass of the two pendulums are the same and they have the same length. But, what makes its motion random? I'm just ...
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Is the Earth the center of the Solar System? [duplicate]

Alright guys, so I attracted you with the title. Now, to preface the question, I am fully aware of the work of Copernicus, as well as the concepts of Heliocentrism and Barycentric Coordinates. I have ...
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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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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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How much more efficient is a road bike than a mountain bike? [closed]

What would be a good estimate on the difference of efficiency between a road bike and a mountain bike? A number of links cite all the usual reasons: thinner tires, better aerodynamics... But I'm ...
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Huge buildings affect Earth's rotation?

Does constructing huge buildings affect the rotation of the Earth, similar to skater whose angular rotation increases when her arms are closed comparatively than open?
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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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Paradox in applying Newton's second law [duplicate]

Suppose I apply two vertical but opposite forces with the same magnitude in a body like is shown in the picture: According to newton's second law, the center of mass shouldn't accelerate, since the ...
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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 ...
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How do you explain Kepler's third law in general terms without complex math?

I understand the first law-elliptical orbits, and the second-equal area in same time, but I need help with the third one. Note that I am not in an AP course or taking calculus at the moment so simple ...
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How do the Planets and Sun get their initial spin?

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial rotation? Why do Venus and Mercury rotate so slowly compared to other planets? Why does Venus rotate in a different direction to Mercury, Earth and Mars? ...
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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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Where does the extra equation come from to determine the forces from an object on a table?

I have a question about basic statics but somehow I cannot manage to find the answer on my own (btw, this is not a homework. It's been so many years since school for me...). The problem is very ...
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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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Two people are holding either end of a couch, is one person exerting more force than the other?

I was carrying a couch with my flatmate yesterday, and I started thinking about this. Often when carrying objects like this, one person will be taller and has thus lifted his end of the couch higher ...
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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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Elastic collision of point particle and rod

A 1 meter long rod on the ice with mass $m_2=1$ kg is perpendicularly hit on one end by a point particle with mass $m_1=0.1$ kg. The collision is elastic and the point particle is bounced back in ...
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What determines the direction of precession of a gyroscope?

I understand how torque mathematically causes a change to the direction of angular momentum, thus precessing the gyroscope. However, the direction, either clockwise or counterclockwise, of this ...
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Intuitive meaning of Newton (units)

Is there any intuitive reasoning behind why the units of a "Newton" is $kg \frac{m}{s^{2}}$ and how it represents force? I always wanted to understand why objects of different mass fall at the same ...
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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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Why is a beam reach the fastest point of sail on modern sailboats?

I've heard that a beam reach (perpendicular to the wind) is the fastest point of sail on modern sailboats, but I haven't heard a satisfying explanation of the physics behind the claim. Triangular ...
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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 $\mu_k$ ...
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What is the optimal burn direction to lower periapsis of hyperbolic orbit?

I am an engineering student who is interested in orbital mechanics. I am doing some self study before taking some orbital mechanics courses next year. I was learning about various orbit types ...