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 determines the angle of the cushion on a pool table?

If you look at the cushions (bumpers) on a pool table, you'll see that they're not vertical. They're tilted inwards. About 10 years ago, I came across a physics exam in which one of the problems ...
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Is there a deep reason why springs combine like capacitors?

I was solving a practice Physics GRE and there was a question about springs connected in series and parallel. I was too lazy to derive the way the spring constants add in each case. But I knew how ...
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Is force a “real thing”, or a tool for explaining changes in measurable phenomena?

My physics text says that force is "an interaction between two bodies or a body and its environment." When an object undergoes acceleration we explain it with a force. But we don't measure force, ...
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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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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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Book suggestions for foundation of Newtonian Mechanics

I'm not looking for books which deal with the mathematical foundations of Newtonian mechanics. What I'm looking for are modern books which deal with conceptual foundations of Newtonian mechanics - by ...
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Solving a statically indeterminate truss

I'm trying to solve the statically indeterminate truss shown below and I'm having a little trouble. $H$, $P$ and $\beta$ are given. The material is aluminum (density is 2700 ${kg/m^3}$) and has a ...
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Why there is a 1/2 in kinetic energy formula? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is there a $\frac 1 2$ in $\frac 1 2 mv^2$? Hèllo, I have a question about kinetic energy formula. As you know, in kinetic energy formula, we have: ...
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700 views

How to understand Feynman's reasoning about perpetual motion?

I'm studying Feynman's Lectures on Physics, and I'm not really understanding his reasoning here: Consider weight-lifting machines $\overline{}$ machines which have the property that they lift one ...
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Why do heavier objects fall faster in air?

We all know that in an idealised world all objects accelerate at the same rate when dropped regardless of their mass. We also know that in reality (or more accurately, in air) a lead feather falls ...
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What happens, if a rocket is filled with a vacuum instead of high pressured air?

Suppose you put wheels under a compressed air tank so that it can move horizontally to the right and to the left. Suppose there is a nozzle on the right hand side of the tank (in the picture on the ...
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Why do whips hurt so much?

What exactly is the mechanism that makes a whip deliver such a strong impact? Elasticity, torque, or pressure? Just hitting something with a plank doesn't deal nearly as much damage. What's the ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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Can I make a rod in the vertical plane move with its one end on the ground in a slanting position?

Consider a rod kept vertically on the ground. I keeps the rod in a slanting position making some angle with the horizontal. Can I now move this rod along the horizontal plane by applying a force at ...
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Kinematics question - Newton's Law of Motion [closed]

Question: Find the mass M of the hanging block in the following figure which will prevent the smaller block from slipping over the triangular block. All the surfaces are frictionless and the strings ...