# Tagged Questions

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### What is the meaning of $U''(x)=0$?

Most potentials with a minimum can be described approximately as a harmonic oscillator. So the procedure is to Taylor expand $U(x)$: $$U(x)=U(0)+U'(0)x+\frac{1}{2}U''(0)x^2 +...$$ If we suppose ...
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### How to understand dynamics $\dot x_i=\partial_jA_{ij}$ from skew-symmetric potential $A$?

We speak of a dynamical system with a potential if there is a scalar possibly depending on coordinate such that the vector field is exactly the (negative) gradient of the potential. That means each ...
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### Stable equilibrium given force

If a particle moves under the influence of a resistive force proportianal to velocity and a potential $U$, $$F(x,\dot x)=-b\dot x-\frac {\partial U}{\partial x}$$ Where b>0 and ...
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### Is there an equivalent of a scalar potential for torques?

For a given scalar potential $V$, it is known that the corresponding force field $\mathbf{F}$ can be computed from $$\mathbf{F} = -\nabla V$$ Suppose a rigid body is placed inside this ...
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### In the Lennard-Jones potential, why does the attractive part (dispersion) have an $r^{-6}$ dependence?

The Lennard-Jones potential has the form: $$U(r) = 4\epsilon\left[ \left(\frac{\sigma}{r}\right)^{12} - \left(\frac{\sigma}{r}\right)^{6} \right]$$ The (attractive) $r^{-6}$ term describes the ...
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### In $\textbf{f} = -\boldsymbol{\nabla} u$, what is $u$?

I know that force is the negative gradient of the potential: $$\textbf{f} = -\boldsymbol{\nabla} u$$ where force $\textbf{f}$ is a vector and $u$ is a scalar. This is a relatively soft question, ...
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### What does $\textbf{f} = -\boldsymbol{\nabla} u$ mean in practice and how is it computed?

In classical computer simulations such as molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, one integrates Newton's equations of motion to determine particle trajectories. If we think of Newton's Second Law as ...