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)

7
votes
6answers
538 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
394 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
271 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
215 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
897 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
483 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
228 views

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? ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
266 views

Where is the “event horizon” on a basketball hoop?

I'm watching a lot of basketball this month. A common event is the ball going part way into the hoop and then coming out again. Announcers sometimes claim that the ball was "halfway through" when it ...
7
votes
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
560 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
6
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 ...
6
votes
8answers
439 views

How do we know that $F = ma$, not $F = k \cdot ma$

It seems intuitive that $a\; \propto \frac{F}{m}$, as the greater the force that is applied on an object, the greater its acceleration will be. Inversely, the greater the mass of the object, the ...
6
votes
8answers
3k 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
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?
6
votes
6answers
582 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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)?
6
votes
4answers
526 views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
7answers
770 views

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. ...
6
votes
2answers
282 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?
6
votes
2answers
539 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
376 views

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 ...
6
votes
7answers
464 views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
188 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
284 views

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 ...
6
votes
5answers
429 views

Force required to drive car

From what I know of Newtonian Mechanics, if an object is moving at a constant velocity, the net force acting on that object is equal to zero. If there is friction, then the applied force required to ...
6
votes
1answer
907 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
votes
2answers
814 views

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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
521 views

Does a force act on the body during collision

Consider two bodies A(black) and B(red) having equal mass. A is moving at a constant speed towards B, which is stationary. At certain point of time, they collide elastically, $\therefore u_{A}=v_{B}$ ...
6
votes
5answers
275 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
537 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
3answers
591 views

Why didn't Newton just propose the 2nd Law and leave it at that?

Why didn't Newton just propose the 2nd Law ($F=\dot{p}$) and leave it at that? The 2nd Law implicitly contains the first, doesn't it? If so, it seems he wasn't following his own Rule #1 of Book 3 of ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
417 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
144 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
357 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
120 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

How does placing objects in liquids affect the mass?

I was dazing off in my physics class when I came up with this question and I was wondering about it all day. I could not provide myself with an adequate solution, so here I am asking the forum about ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
296 views

In which direction does a wall exert the reaction force if it is hit diagonally?

I am confused about action-reaction forces and inertia of moving objects. As an example, take a cricket ball a bowler throws to the pitch: Suppose the ball is about to drop in the pitch with ...
6
votes
1answer
213 views

How reliant is the Solar System on being exactly the way it is?

We know that all objects with mass exert forces on all other objects of mass such that $$ F = \frac{GMm}{R^2}.$$ And as others have discussed the planets do interfere with each other ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Does conservation of momentum really imply Newton's third law?

I often heard that conservation of momentum is nothing else than Newton's third law. Ok, If you have only two interacting particles in the universe, this seems to be quite obvious. However if you ...
6
votes
2answers
149 views

Experiment which shows that Newtons third law is not true for magnetic forces

I am just reading David Morins "Introduction to Classical Mechanics". He writes about Newtons third law the following: It holds for forces of the “pushing” and “pulling” type, but it fails for ...
6
votes
2answers
352 views

What's the difference between work in thermodynamics and mechanics?

What is the difference between work in thermodynamics and work in mechanics?
6
votes
1answer
140 views

Why does this screwdriver roll in a curved trajectory?

I am trying my level best to give this screwdriver a horizontal push only, but it is going in a circular path. I thought of uneven friction due to non-uniform normal reaction...what do you think? I ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How do levers amplify forces?

This is really bothering me for a long time, because the math is easy to do, but it's still unintuitive for me. I understand the "law of the lever" and I can do the math and use the torques, or ...