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)

11
votes
3answers
581 views

No closed orbits for a Newtonian gravitational field in 4 spatial dimensions

We are supposed to show that orbits in 4D are not closed. Therefore I derived a Lagrangian in hyperspherical coordinates $$L=\frac{m}{2}(\dot{r}^2+\sin^2(\gamma)(\sin^2(\theta)r^2 \dot{\phi}^2+r^2 \...
11
votes
3answers
362 views

Why do smaller animals survive falls from larger heights?

I remember thinking about this classic problem with my friends back in school and tried to work through it again from a physics point of view. It turned out that it is more complicated that I thought: ...
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. ...
11
votes
2answers
838 views

The secret behind the spinning, asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top?

When you spin an asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top, the heavy part actually rises to the top. Why is this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0SZZTBQmEs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
11
votes
4answers
3k 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 ?
11
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the period of a physical pendulum without using small-angle approximation?

What is the expression for the period of a physical pendulum without the $\sin\theta\approx\theta$ approximation? i.e. a pendulum described by this equation: $$ mgd\sin(\theta)=-I\ddot\theta $$ ...
11
votes
4answers
11k views

Dependence of Friction on Area

Is friction really independent of area? The friction force, $f_s = \mu_s N$. The equation says that friction only depends on the normal force, which is $ N = W = mg$, and nature of sliding surface, ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I calculate the distance a ship will take to stop?

I am a River Pilot and drive ships for a living. These ships are very large and range up to 160,000 Metric Tons. I am trying to figure out how to calculate the distance to stopping. I have a basic ...
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
7answers
3k views

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 ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

In circular motion, with a constant distance, why does the mass of the orbitting object have no effect on its revolution at all?

Using Newton's universal equation and some circular motion equation, the orbiting object's mass cancels out. But can someone please explain why this is without using pure algebra?
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Why is Newton's first law necessary?

Newton's second law says $F=ma$. Now if we put $F=0$ we get $a=0$ which is Newton's first law. So why do we need Newton's first law ? Before asking I did some searching and I got this: Newtons first ...
10
votes
4answers
8k views

What causes a soccer ball to follow a curved path?

Soccer players kick the ball in a linear kick, though you find it to turn sideways, not even in one direction. Just mid air it changes that curve's direction. Any physical explanation? Maybe this ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Can a mouse rotating a wheel violate conservation of angular momentum?

I have been thinking on the following problem. Part I. Imagine we have a mouse enclosed in a rigid box. We placed the box on a frictionless surface (ice might be a good example). Can the box start ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How does Newtonian mechanics explain why orbiting objects do not fall to the object they are orbiting?

The force of gravity is constantly being applied to an orbiting object. And therefore the object is constantly accelerating. Why doesn't gravity eventually "win" over the object's momentum, like a ...
10
votes
2answers
5k views

Calculating the force required to lift a weight with a screw

I am trying to learn physics by myself as I do not have a good teacher at school. I've been reading Feynman Lectures on Physics and I can't figure out how he found out this number. Here is an excerpt ...
10
votes
6answers
75k views

What is the difference between stress and pressure?

What is the difference between stress and pressure? Are there any intuitive examples that explain the difference between the two? How about an example of when pressure and stress are not equal?
10
votes
3answers
188 views

Are mechanical energy of an element of a rope and energy density constant in the case of mechanical waves?

I'm confused about energy driven by a wave. Consider a sinousoidal wave moving in a rope. In my view each element $dm$ of the rope follows a simple harmonic motion in time. That means that the ...
10
votes
2answers
469 views

What if the lid of a pressure cooker was suddenly released?

My dad and I have tried to calculate the strength of the explosion if the lid was suddenly freed. We took some measures: Lid mass: $0.7 \textrm{kg}$ Lid surface: $0.415 \textrm{m}^2$ Internal ...
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?
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Can one of Newton's Laws of motion be derived from other Newton's Laws of motion?

Can one derive Newton's second and third laws from the first law or first and third laws from the second law or first and second laws from the third law I think Newton's laws of motions are ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Apparent violation of Newton's 3rd law and the conservation of angular momentum for a pair of charged particles interacting magnetically

Consider a system of the two identical point positive charges situated in free space (isolated from influence of any other external fields) as shown in the figure below. Particle 1 is at $(a,a,0)$ and ...
10
votes
1answer
893 views

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 http://en....
10
votes
3answers
889 views

Can Lagrangian mechanics be justified without referring to Newtonian mechanics?

Are there any ways of justifying Lagrangian mechanics as a foundation of classical physics, without referring to Newtonian mechanics? In other words, what is the deeper reason or intuition why $$\...
10
votes
3answers
434 views

Why are electrons treated classically in cyclotron measurements?

As I understand , systems having large angular momenta relative to the planck constant (limit of large quantum numbers, e.g. $J/\hbar \to \infty$), can be treated as classical systems. Now in the case ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Dynamics of counter-rotating flywheels

I've wondered about this for ages. If we create a pair of flywheels that rotate in the opposite direction with the same angular momentum, but are co-located and have the same mass and inertial moment ...
10
votes
1answer
538 views

Can a fly pierce itself onto a cactus needle?

Somebody on reddit posted a ridiculous picture today of a fly pierced onto a needle of a cactus: http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/xarue/what_are_the_odds_of_this_accident/ Whilst the OP claims ...
10
votes
1answer
303 views

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 (...
10
votes
1answer
902 views

Why isn't temperature frame dependent?

In (non-relativistic) classical physics, if the temperature of an object is proportional to the average kinetic energy ${1 \over 2} m\overline {v^{2}}$of its particles (or molecules), then shouldn't ...
10
votes
2answers
241 views

Can the coefficient of friction be derived from fundamentals?

It is common to want to derive macroscopic laws from what we know microscopically - after all, given a (correct) microscopic description, everything larger should follow. Has it ever been done to ...
10
votes
5answers
7k views

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How to calculate the number of glass sheets that will be broken by a falling object?

In season 1, episode 7 of King of the nerds the contestants are asked to calculate how many sheets of glass will be broken by a falling object. They are shown 1 example case and then asked to ...
10
votes
3answers
426 views

Is ordering players by height beneficial in a game of tug of war?

This can be considered a follow-up turn-around question for this similar question. I recently came across this interesting analysis of the game of tug of war. One of the closing discussions is the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
9
votes
5answers
16k views

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 ...
9
votes
4answers
864 views

Where does movement come from? [closed]

When you put a body in motion, where does that movement come from? Ok, you will say things like "acceleration", but where does that acceleration come from? Then you might say "a force is creating the ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Why does tossing a coin in a train and on a train differ?

Suppose that I am inside of a moving train. I have a coin in my hand and I am standing still. If I toss this coin straight up, it will fall back into my hand. Now, suppose that I am on that moving ...
9
votes
4answers
37k 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
3answers
6k views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Non-Constant Acceleration due to Gravity

Recently, I had the first physics lab for my university physics course. This lab was fairly simple, as we were merely using a computer and a distance sensor to graph the position, velocity, and ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What does it mean when physical theories are inconsistent?

I am hoping that someone can explain in layman terms why Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's equations are inconsistent. Wikipedia says that this inconsistency is what led to the development of ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Will the box move?

Here is a man in a box with wheels on a frictionless surface. Case 1 - The person constantly pushes the box while standing near its wall. Why doesn’t it move? (I know it is because of the 3rd law, ...
9
votes
3answers
566 views

What does Feynman mean when he says that $F=ma$ is not exact?

Chapter 12-2 in Feynman Lectures Vol. 1 states: In fact the law, $F=ma$ is not exactly true; if it were a definition we should have to say that it is always true; but it is not ... First, ...
9
votes
4answers
9k views

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 ...
9
votes
5answers
10k views

Does ABS shorten stopping distance of a car?

ABS, from German Antiblockiersystem, is a device put in almost every new automobile. The web has lots of explanations about the system, how it works, but I don't understand how it shortens the way of ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

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 I'...