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 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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If the solar system is a non-inertial frame, why can Newton's Laws predict motion?

Since there is no object in the universe that doesn't move, and the solar system likely accelerates through space, how did Newton's Laws work so well? Didn't he assume that the sun is the ...
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How multiple objects in contact are resolved in an inelastic collision, when edge normals don't “line up”

In a case I understand, let's say I have an object A moving at velocity V toward 3 objects in contact B, C, and D: The momentum of A is the mass of A times its velocity. To figure out how the ...
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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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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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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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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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Can very large objects have a gravitational moment?

I was reading this answer about center of gravity vs. center of mass and it stated: Consider the Sears Tower. Its CG is about 1 millimeter below its CM. The reason why is because the base of the ...
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701 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 ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
406 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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Why are these periods the same: a low earth orbit and oscillations through the center of the earth?

Related: Why does earth have a minimum orbital period? I was learning about GPS satellite orbits and came across that Low Earth Orbits (LEO) have a period of about 88 minutes at an altitude of 160 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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Are all central forces conservative? Wikipedia must be wrong

It might be just a simple definition problem but I learned in class that a central force does not necessarily need to be conservative and the German Wikipedia says so too. However, the English ...
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2answers
201 views

Will an object falling into Earth's orbit start spinning?

Assume an object falls towards Earth (I've drawn a hyperbolic orbit, but this would apply to any orbit). The object starts at $A$, and at this point it is not rotating i.e. an observer on the object ...
6
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3answers
821 views

Why don't we consider jerk in physics classes? [duplicate]

When i got more into physics, i started asking myself if just like acceleration represents the growth of speed, something else could also represent the growth of acceleration itself. And it came that ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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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2answers
256 views

Is it possible to determine the outcome of any impact knowing only the ratio of masses? [duplicate]

In elastic collisions in 2-D if two balls $A$, $B$ ($m_A = m_B$, $R = 1$) have equal mass we can determine in advance the outcome of the collision. If cue-ball $A$ impacts object-ball $B$ (at rest) ...
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1answer
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Bowling Ball Sinking Rate - Variable or Constant?

In today's (Jan. 16, 2014) xkcd What If?, Randall Munroe discusses how fast a bowling ball will sink to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. He calculates the drag on the ball, and then plugging in the ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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129 views

Why do your fingers alternate then meet at the center of mass of the object?

Hold a pen (or pencil, ruler etc.) using your two index fingers with your fingers at the ends of the object. Now move your two fingers toward each other. Assuming the frictional force provided by both ...
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3answers
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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
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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 ...
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1answer
301 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 - ...
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1answer
698 views

Rigid bar suspended by two ropes, tension of first rope after second rope is cut?

This is from a practice exam, I've been sitting here thinking about it for over an hour and can't convince myself of an answer, or write down any relevant exact equations. A bar of uniform density ...
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1answer
152 views

Throwing baseball at a car

For some odd reason, you decide to throw baseballs at a car of mass $M$, which is free to move frictionlessly on the ground. You throw the balls at the back of the car at speed $u$, and at a ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
9
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4answers
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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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Newton's third law and punching a glass or a feather

According to Newton's third law, action force equals reaction force in terms of magnitude. When I punch a glass, the glass punches me back. If I exert a greater force on the glass, it will break. ...
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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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6answers
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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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8answers
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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 ...
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Mass particle trajectory on a sphere

So, I am trying to simulate mass particle motion on the outer surface of sphere using cartesian coordinates. Let's conclude just a gravity and frictionless movement. Sphere $x^2 + y^2 + z^2 = 1$, ...
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2answers
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Why do rockets jettison fuel tanks? [duplicate]

I'm trying to understand why rockets have multistages releasing their fuel tanks. Say a rocket $R$ has two fuel tanks $A$ and $B$, which respectively have masses $m_a$ and $m_b$, and the mass of the ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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5answers
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Person Pushing a Block vs. People Pushing off Each Other - Newton's Third Law

I have read so many forums on this and I still do not understand and it's affecting my ability to move forward with learning physics right now. Imagine the following scenario: a person on a ...