Potential energy is the energy of a body or a system due to the position of the body or the arrangement of the particles of the system.

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Electric potential energy and signs

I know that eletric potenial is negative near a negative charge and positve near a positive charge. But does this mean a small positive 'test' charge has a negative electric potential energy near a ...
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27 views

What is the relevance of potential energy as a concept?

As far as i understand, for an object to have a fixed quantity of potential energy, it must be in current equilibrium and have no net force applied to it (otherwise the potential would convert to ...
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What does energy represent in $E= mc^2$?

Due to energy-mass equivalence, any object with mass can be said to have a corresponding amount of energy. So in a 5kg object there are 450,000,000,000 joules. A joule as i understand it is the ...
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Help understanding the solution to a problem regarding kinetic energy of a group of point charges

The problem provided by my professor goes as follows: "Now consider a situation in which all charges are equal to q and they simultaneously become "unglued". What speed will each charge have when a ...
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Potential and kinetic energy on spherical surface

A small particle of mass $m$ is atop of a semi-sphere as shown in the figure. A little push was given to the particle. Prove that the particle will leave the spherical surface at a height of ...
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What do we mean by “ground” in an electrical circuit? [migrated]

What do we mean by ground in an electrical circuit? When we want to solve electrical circuits problems, we set a "ground" level which is mean that the potential on it equal to $0$. I wonder how the ...
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Saddle point and transition state of a molecule

During a transition of a molecule from one state to another, it pass through a transition state. This transition state, mathematically speaking, is a saddle point. That means, the second derivative ...
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Internal potential energy and relative distance of the particle

Today, I read a line in Goldstein Classical mechanics and got confused about one line. To satisfy the strong law of action and reaction, $V_{ij}$ can be a function only of the distance between ...
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Why is the objective function used in Nudged Elastic Band method reasonable?

In Nudged Elastic Band (NEB) method, which is used to find reaction pathways when both initial and final states are know, an objective function is first constructed and then minimized to find reaction ...
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Origins of many-particle interactions

The internal potential energy of an $N$ particle system is a general function of the coordinates of the particles: $U(r_1,...,r_N)$. In some approximations and expansions - e.g. virial expansion - it ...
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Active and passive transformations and the change in potential energy

Under active transformation, the particle moves. On the other hand, for a passive one, the coordinate is just relabel. I've read that the passive one will not affect the potential energy and the ...
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The formula used to calculate electrical potential energy

Sorry for the ugly picture but it makes my question more understandable. The $\Delta V$ from $A$ to $B$ is calculated by$$\int_A^B E \, \mathrm{d}r$$ where $r$ is the distance between $A$ and $B$. ...
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Using an electric winch to compress a spring and launch an object

I'm having trouble grokking the relationship between a winch's pull/torque and a spring's potential energy. I would like to compress a spring using an electric winch and figure out how far it will be ...
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31 views

Calculating elastic energy constant [closed]

I ran into a kinetic physics problem: "A spring is hanging on the ceiling. Let's place an object 'M' at the end of the spring. Yet hold 'M' so the spring doesn't stretch. The distance between the ...
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136 views

What is potential energy truly?

I have a problematic question for which I have been unable to attain a satisfactory answer. What is potential energy truly? - I have read about how potential energy can be seen as the "highering" ...
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101 views

What do we mean when we talk about Gibbs Free Energy?

Before I start, I'm aware that this question may be better suited on the Chemistry or Biology site, but it's my belief that physicists are more likely to have a clear understanding on what certain ...
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46 views

Electric Potential of a Cube Made of Point Charges

I'm trying to find the potential energy of multiple geometric shapes made entirely out of point charges. This particular shape is a cube made out of two different point charges, A and B, each ...
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124 views

Where does elastic potential energy go after it is released?

Say you have two objects colliding, and there is some elasticity between them. Some of the kinetic energy of the objects will change into elastic potential energy when they collide, but when they ...
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electrical potential energy stored in vacumm for a single point charge?

I have come to know the electrostatic potential energy in vacuum is given by $${\frac{1}{2}} \epsilon_0\int d^3x {E^2} $$ and this energy is due to the mutual electrostatic coulomb potential energy. ...
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What happens to gas molecules after Ionization?

I know that gas molecules conduct electricity after they get ionized but what will happen if we keep increasing the voltage even after ionization? Will it explode? If it will then how much energy ...
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Defining electric potential energy

When we say that the electric potential energy at a point is X is that assuming we are using a positive test charge?
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Is the potential energy of molecules related to its temperature? [duplicate]

Do ideal gases have a certain potential energy at a certain temperature?
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84 views

Help understanding a potential energy problem [closed]

Apologies if the following problem does not seem to involve potential energy, it is a homework problem that is labeled under the potential energy chapter. Question While a roofer is working on a ...
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Energy of a damped oscillator

$$ E=\frac{1}{2}m\left(\frac{dx}{dt}\right)^2+\frac{1}{2}m\omega_0^2x^2. $$ This is the equation for the energy of a oscillator. The second term is the potential energy. Now, my question is, will ...
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Where does energy in a field come from?

Let us consider for example Earth's gravitational field. If we put a ball somewhere in this field, the ball starts to accelerate due to the gravitational force exerted on it. I understand the ...
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107 views

What is the energy required to create mass of m at a height of h above the Earth?

What is the energy required to create mass of m at a height of h above the Earth? Is it $E= m c ^2$ or $E = mc ^ 2 + mgh$ ? Let's reverse the process also. If you convert mass $m$ at $h = 0$ to ...
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While holding an object, no work done but costs energy (in response to a similar question)

I read the answer to Why does holding something up cost energy while no work is being done? and wanting to know more, I asked my teacher about it without telling him what I read here. Instead of ...
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164 views

Why doesn't the potential energy of any object equal 0

Consider a particle on the ground. This particle is raised by a force of magnitude $mg$ to a height $h$ above the ground. At this point, the work done on the particle by the force is $mgh$, which is ...
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Sign of Work and potential energy in electrostatics

Conceptual question: Suppose we have a configuration of point charges. If the potential of the energy of the system is negative, this means work is positive. I'm kind of rusty with my mechanics, ...
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Why is the potential energy of a particle $mgh$ regardless of force?

Consider a particle raised to height $h$ by applying a constant force of $F$ vertically opposite to the direction of force of gravity on it. The potential energy of the particle is $$W = mgh$$ But, ...
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126 views

Potential energy of the human body if all its atoms were split

I am working on a sci-fi story in which a character has control over matter on the atomic level (think Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen). In thinking up potential tragedies for this character I thought, ...
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113 views

Electrical Potential Energy and Electric Force [closed]

Under certain circumstances, potassium ions $(K+)$ move across the $8.0 nm$ thick cell membrane from the inside to the outside. The potential inside the cell is $−70 mV$ and the potential outside is ...
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102 views

Potential energy curve for intermolecular distance

I'm trying to understand this curve better, but I can't quite figure out what "negative potential energy" means. The graph should describe a molecule oscillating between $A$ and $B$, however where ...
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Is potential energy and “work done” the same thing?

Is potential energy and "work done" the same thing? If they are not one and the same thing then why is potential energy always associated with "work done"? Could you explain me with some examples?
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What is the minimum physical distance between two electrons?

If electrons repel, then it seems to me that energy is required to decrease the distance between two electrons. Since energy and mass are equivalent, adding energy to a system also adds some mass. ...
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178 views

How does potential energy work in the context of objects in space?

It's said that potential energy is "energy of position." If an object is sitting on a shelf five feet above the floor, its potential energy can be thought of as equal to the amount of energy that ...
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333 views

Electron flow and electric potential

In the physics tutorial topic on current electricty it defines the positive terminal as the high potential terminal and the negative as the low potential. When talking about positive test charges this ...
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110 views

Actual meaning of “Gravitational Potential”?

In a gravitational field, the gravitational force acting on a body (of mass m) at a point x metres away from the attracting body (of mass M) is $\frac{GMm}{x^2}$. Integrating this force from a point ...
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290 views

Where does the loss in gravitational energy of the load go when a spring is pulled?

A mass spring system is in equilibrium. If I pull on the load by $x$ meters, the energy stored in the spring is (this is what is given in my book): $$E=\frac12kx^2 $$ However, doesn't the load lose ...
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328 views

Potential energy for different states

While studying thermal physics at school, I have been taught that solids simply have more potential energy than the liquids and gases. Note that it was said that this potential energy is due to the ...
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69 views

What is the true electric potential at the terminals of a battery?

I recently studied Laplace's equation and numerical methods for solving it, and so I'm trying to simulate an electron gun. (assuming cylindrical symmetry on the Wehnelt, anode, and beam.) The setup ...
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Hamiltonian function for classical hard-sphere elastic collision

I'm trying to find the Hamiltonian function for a system consisting of a single particle in one dimension colliding elastically with a wall at x = 0. Everything I've read on the topic (e.g. this ...
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117 views

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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233 views

Work done should be positive but coming out negative?

$\int\frac{GMm}{x^2}dx$ where $x$ varies from $\infty$ to $r$. Situation we are bringing a very small mass from infinity to a distance r in the gravitational field of Earth with constant ...
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231 views

Expansion of the Universe: Conversion of gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy?

Suppose there is an object floating in space which over time begins to fall toward the source of a gravitational field. As it falls, its motion happens to be such that it gets locked in orbit around ...
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why does water do that?

I found recently that water fills a bottle quicker through only observation if I hold the tube away from the filling water than if I leave the tube inside the bottle. why does that happen? does ...
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Interpretation of contribution of gravitational potential energy to the gravitational field

In terms of General relativity we have as a matter of principle that anything that has inertial mass contributes to gravity. All forms of potential energy have inertial mass, it follows that the ...
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158 views

Is there energy stored when iron is magnetized?

When a piece of iron is magnetized, and the domains are aligned, Is there energy stored? If so, how much energy is stored? If there is an attraction between that same iron and the source of the ...
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Signs in proof of gravitation potential energy (GPE)

Proof of gravitational potential energy. Work done by gravity in bringing mass from infinity to a distance of $r$ between masses. When we use the integration formula and arrive at the answer we ...
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Differences between time-independent and time-dependent Schrödinger equation for potential generation

Suppose I wanted to develop a potential describing the interaction between two lithium atoms. One way to do this is to calculate the energy between the two lithium atoms for various distances and ...