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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interpreting the dirichlet-principle

In obstacle problems (see e.g. wikipedia here) we are minimizing the dirichlet energy $$ I[u]=\int_D\|\nabla u\|^2dx\tag{1} $$ The Dirichlet-principle states that minimizing $I[u]$ is equivalent to to ...
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Is potential energy frame dependent in special relativity?

In newtonian mechanics, As far as I'm aware, only kinetic energy is dependent on frames of reference, since kinetic energy is a function of velocity(squared) and velocity is dependent on frames of ...
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37 views

Where does the energy go when you stretch a rubber band?

There is resistance when you stretch a rubber band. That makes sense to me because the energy you exert is turned into potential energy of the rubber band, but if you hold the rubber band in the same ...
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How far up an object is its gravitational potential energy taken from? [on hold]

This is quite a brief question but, Is the $h$ value in $mgh$ taken from an object's base, middle of top. For example, if a person was $1.5m$ in height and they were standing on a hill of height ...
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Is there an example of a situation where you need a continuous spectrum?

If you had a hydrogen atom you could say that you want to be able to ionize them. But if you then add the potential due to the earth, e.g. ...
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81 views

Rolling down an arbitrary hill with friction

I had in mind this physical situation of a point mass rolling down a hill of some arbitrary shape ($y=y(x)$, for instance a parabola about $x=0$), with a peculiar friction force whose "expended work" ...
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Work done by flow of a fluid

I'm looking at the power a flow of steam when used by a turbine. I originally assumed that the kinetic energy of a moving section of steam was equal to (let $V$ be volume, $\rho$ be density, and $v$ ...
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Question about defining potential energy of a magnetic dipole placed in a magnetic field

We know that magnetic field is a non-conservative field, since it exists in closed loops. Then how can we define the potential energy of a magnetic dipole placed in a magnetic field ?
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52 views

What is minimum total energy?

I thought that the energy for a system is constant. But in a question in my physics book we have been asked to determine the minimum total energy from a graph of potential energy vs position? What ...
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1answer
67 views

Can't a hydrogen electron have net positive energy?

This page http://www.physicspages.com/2011/06/07/hydrogen-atom-series-solution/ is the 2nd half of a solution to the hydrogen atom Schrödinger equation. They derive that $E = -1/n^2 *$ (bunch of ...
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15 views

How to solve this energy problem using trends related to impulse and momentum? [closed]

The question runs a 1kg block moves with a speed of 10 m/s. It strikes a spring that has a spring constant of 25 N/m. Determine the maximum compression of spring. The energy way of solving ...
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58 views

On the connection between forces and the principle of stationary action

Feynman tries to account for the relation between the principle of stationary action, which is a statement about the whole path of a particle, and Newton's second law, which is a statement about the ...
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34 views

Slingshot Energy into traveled distance [closed]

If I have a slingshot and I am told that when pulled it has about $E$ joules of energy, how do I compute the height at which an object of mass $m$ would travel if the slingshot is released in the ...
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1answer
27 views

Of the two variables (Q and V) in the equation of capacitor energy, which is better to take the average of?

$U_c = \frac{1}{2}QV$ I understand from the graph which it should be one half but not quarter, or taking the average of both. But it doesn't really matter to me which variable is on y or x axis? ...
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66 views

What is the definition of potential energy? [duplicate]

I have problems with this equation: $$U_G ~=~ G\frac{m_1m_2}{r}.$$ It's for potential energy of say something placed on Earth. But it intrigues me. $r$ is the distance from the very center of the ...
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61 views

Why is the equation for electric potential energy so counter-intuitive?

The equation: $U_E = Vq$ or $(Eq)d$. This works the same way as the equation for gravitational potential energy: $mgh$ But to me, for charges of different signs, the potential energy also varies. ...
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36 views

Approximate Electric Potential $V$ so that it is of the form $V(r) + V(\phi) + V(z)$

I'm trying to simulate the conductivity of a nanowire that is modeled by a cylindrical shell of infinite potential with benzene rings in the core of the wire. (This is based on a coiled-coil protein ...
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1answer
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Can the electric potential corresponding to the negative plate ever be equal to anything bigger than zero?

I am doing my homework. I read my textbook. It says that the negatively charged plate is the low potential plate. It also shows a example of lower plate equal to 0V, I guess for simplicity. But what ...
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93 views

A little confusion in the derivation of potential energy of a shell

This is a paragraph and a figure from The Feynman Lectures, He's trying to prove the Shell theorem for gravity: If we rearrange $dm=2\pi y \mu ds$ we obtain $\dfrac{dm}{2\pi yds}=\mu$. In this ...
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74 views

How does The work done in going around any path in a gravitational field is zero implies conservation of energy?

In The Feynman Lectures, Feynman states: The work done in going around any path in a gravitational field is zero. This is a very remarkable result. It tells us something we did not previously ...
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1answer
61 views

If systems minimize their potential energy, why do people climb mountains?

A person climbs a mountain. They convert the stored chemical energy of food in their body and back pack into heat energy on the mountain, and gravitational potential energy as they move towards the ...
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426 views

A confusion regarding an example in The Feynman Lectures

In The Feynman Lectures, In the chapter entitled Work and potential energy, Feynman states: The work done in going around any path in a gravitational field is zero. This is a very remarkable ...
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1answer
33 views

does $Q_AV_{AB}=Q_BV_{BA}$ in this case

Sorry fo unclear title but I can't find any suitable on for this question. Here is what my text book says about how to find out the energy of a system of charge of n particle. What I don't know is ...
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121 views

What is an effective potential in classical mechanics?

What is an effective potential in classical mechanics? I have read the wikipedia article and David Tong's lectures notes, but I didn't understand how an effective potential simplifies a situation or ...
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389 views

Why is $F=-\nabla V$?

I came across this equation $$F=-\nabla V$$ where $V$ is potential energy. I do understand that $$F(r)=-\frac{dV}{dr}.$$ Hence does this mean the nabla operator in this case means derivative? Because ...
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58 views

Derive frequency given potential using Newton's laws

A mass with mass $m$ has a potential energy function $U(x)$ and I'm wondering how you would find the frequency of small oscillations about equilibrium points using Newton's laws. I started by finding ...
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69 views

Deriving gravitational potential energy using vectors

Here is my attempt at derivation: First you must find a vector function for the gravitational force. By the inverse square law, the magnitude of gravitational force between two bodies of mass $m$ ...
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What is the meaning of this definition of potential energy?

The isolated system of particles is being observed. In the coursebook, $\vec F_\mu$ is by definition the vector sum of forces of all other particles acting on $\mu$-th particle. Usually, potential ...
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66 views

Hooke's Law Problem [closed]

This question assumes that the spring obeys Hooke's law. Say we have a spring Length $L$. The energy of said spring when extended will be $E=(kx^2)/2$. The extension $x_1$ of said string would be ...
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84 views

What is the binding energy in General Relativity?

In general relativity, the potential energy is given by $$V(r)=\frac{h^{2}}{2r^{2}}\left(1-\frac{2M}{r}\right)-\frac{M}{r}.$$ Solving $V^{\prime}(r)=0$, there are two points where circular orbits ...
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190 views

Feynman Lectures: Why a non-reversible weight lifting machine cannot lift higher that a reversible one?

Consider weight-lifting machines—machines which have the property that they lift one weight by lowering another. Let us also make a hypothesis: that there is no such thing as perpetual motion ...
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Definition for potential energy

I came across this definition for potential energy: If we let $T$ be the Kinetic energy, we have that: $$T = \frac{1}{2}mv^2 \implies T = \frac{1}{2}m{x'}^2$$ $$T'= mx'x'' = F(x)x' \implies \\T = ...
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Differential form of the law of gravitation potential

I have problem understanding transaction (operations and methods applied) for one equation to other equation. It is about gravitational potential. $${\vec F_{grav}=\frac{GMm_{obj}\vec R}{R^3}}$$ If we ...
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Is the Einstein Energy-Momentum equation $E^2 = p^2c^2 + m_0^2c^4$ valid only for Free Particles?

Is the energy -momentum relation $$E^2 = p^2c^2 + m_0^2c^4$$ satisfied only by free particles or even bound particles? Does the Energy refer to total Energy(including potential) or only (kinetic ...
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1answer
27 views

Electrostatic potential due to two charge system

When we calculate electric potential energy of a two particle system, say first I bring $+q_1$ and then I bring $+q_2$ against $q_1$'s electric field. Say I get that $q_2$ charge to a point $r$ ...
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406 views

Why is a conservative force defined as the negative gradient of a potential?

I'm learning about work in my dynamics class right now. We have defined the work on a particle due to the force field from point A to point B as the curve Integral over the force field from point A to ...
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60 views

Resistance and potential difference across it

I have this question that has baffled me for hours now. My question is what really happens when charge passes from one point to another in a circuit for eg what happens when it passes over a ...
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Sign of an electric field in electric potential energy problem

I was wondering why the electric field E in this problem is negative. Is it because the earth is negative? We can assume that near the Earth’s surface, a uniform electric field is set up thanks to ...
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Turning points of particle

A particle of mass $m$ and energy $E<0$ moves in a one-dimensional Morse potential: $$V(x)=V_0(e^{-2ax}-2e^{-ax}),\qquad V_0,a>0,\qquad E>-V_0.$$ Determine the ...
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Why is intermolecular potential energy given in 'per mole'?

I was just wondering that if intermolecular potential is the interaction potential energy of two atoms/molecules, then why do we give its value in J/mole? I don't understand why 'per mole' ...
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Proof that oscillations in 1d potential well occur between certain points

In >>this<< situation, a particle with energy $E$ will oscillate between the positions $x_1$ and $x_2$ indicated on the diagram. This simple fact is taught in many introductory courses however I ...
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29 views

Change in Potential energy moving toward line of charge

I'm analyzing the energy involved with charges moving in an electric field and I'm getting caught up here and I must be missing something. So given that an infinitely long line of charge produces a ...
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68 views

Can KE and PE of a small element of a transverse progressive wave be maximum simultaneously?

Maybe a string can be taken as an example to produce the transverse progressive wave.
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49 views

A captious work problem: same paths but same forces?

A man jumps onto a chair. A man climbs onto a chair by putting a leg first and then the other. In both cases, the work has been the same. TRUE or FALSE...? Spoiler!: The path is the same, so the ...
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119 views

What makes an orbit stable or unstable?

I have an assignement, where I have a given central potential $V(x)=-\frac{K}{6r^6}$ and object with an angular momentum $L$. I've calculate the radius of a circular orbit, which I've done by ...
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How to calculate the period of the movement from a potential?

I have an assignment, where I have an object moving in 1-D with a given mass and energy, and the potential V(x), and I'm supposed to calculate the period of the movement as a function of the energy ...
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146 views

Gravitational potential difference

in my revision guide it defines gravitational potential difference as: The gravitational potential difference is work done in moving a unit mass. It then goes on to explain the gravitational ...
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Positions and corresponding terminology of “acoustics energy”?

From limited knowledge, decades ago, dating back to the nineteenth century: Ohm's law of specific acoustic energies was the first biological application of Fourier's theorem. Actually, it was ...
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Gravitational field strength and potential different signs

In my revision guide the gravitational field strength is given as $g=GM/r^2$ whereas gravitational potential is $V=-GM/r$. Why does potential have a minus sign but field strength doesn't?
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Graph of electric potential

In my AP physics guide the graph for electric potential (for a radial field, i.e. point charge) and gravitational potential (for radial field, i.e. point mass) slightly differ from each other and I ...