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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Alternative type energy storage to batteries?

When designing portable devices it is usually the battery that stores its energy, because it has a high energy density that allows even small batteries to run up to a year, given appropriate circuit ...
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31 views

Finding the potential energy of a geosynchronous satellite above earth [on hold]

I am trying to find the gravitational potential energy of a 1kg geostationary satellite above the earth. So far: $E=mgh$, and $g=GM/r^2$ so substitution of $g$ into the energy equation gives: ...
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18 views

Thomson problem vs. maximizing sum of distance

Given $N$ equally charged points lying on the unit sphere ("electrons"), the Thomson problem consists of finding the configuration of these points such that the electrostatic potential energy $$ ...
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26 views

Work in electric potential

I've read that if we want to move a charge in an electric field then we need a work of an external force to move it from a low potential energy to a high one , but then I read on another source that ...
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37 views

Mathematical misunderstanding of Work-Potential Energy Theorem?

This is a relatively basic question, but I don't understand why it is the case. This is from my dynamics book and is mainly a mathematical misunderstanding. $$ \ dU = F\cos\theta ds $$ Which means ...
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Why molecules in this potential have a common average distance $r_m$ to their neighbors?

A commonly used potential describing intermolecular interactions in liquids and real gases is the so-called Lennard-Jones potential. In this model the interaction of atoms and molecules with each ...
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Lennard Jones potential is bad in my plot made with python [closed]

Note that this question is about formula, not about code debugging. I made a program which draws LJ potential with parameters gamma and sigma adjusted with sliders in GUI. However regardless what ...
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24 views

Generalization of Feynman's derivation of the formula for gravitational potential energy in FLP volume I

In the Feynman Lectures on Physics, Feynman derives the formula for gravitational potential energy by applying a line of reasoning he borrowed from Carnot on reversible weight lifting machines (FLP I, ...
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16 views

What does it mean to charge a length of wire up to potential v?

I have to study the text "On the Theory of the Electric Telegraph," By William Thomson, 1855. I am having trouble gaining a conceptual understanding of the opening: "Let c be the electro-statical ...
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58 views

Potential Energy of Springs and Gravity, and Work of a force

I am currently really stuck on this problem and I am not sure how to actually solve it, I think I can reason it out logically but I do not know how to show it. Here it is and under I will show what I ...
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How is potential energy (PE) actually stored in a steel spring at the atomic level?

Elasticity is one the most intriguing phenomena, wiki gives a summary explanation of what happens in a steel spring: the atomic lattice changes size and shape when forces are applied (energy is ...
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24 views

Ballistic Pendulum question?

I am answering a question regarding the ballistic pendulum, and the teacher gave this worksheet. I have figured out both t (time) and the change in y. Where I am getting confused is where he wrote out ...
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40 views

Violation of conservation of energy… or not?

The work done by surface tension is double the increase in potential energy. This is a clear violation of conservation of energy. What is the flaw here? Work done by surface tension is \begin{align} ...
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Modelling gravitational potential of a galaxy

I am interested in modelling the gravitational potential of a disc-shaped galaxy with radius $R$, i.e. solving the 2D Poisson equation numerically by Gauss-Seidel relaxation: $$\nabla^2 \phi = 4\pi G ...
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1answer
56 views

Is there anything interesting about an n-body system whose potential energy is constant?

I am curious about a system of gravitating bodies with particular characteristics. Before describing the characteristics of the system, let me say what I want to know about it: Can this be a ...
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2answers
43 views

How to find height, when given the velocity at that location, starting height, and mass of object? [closed]

The question: A roller coaster is 100m above the ground, and weighs 1000kg. At one point of the roller-coaster-ride, the velocity is 28 m/s. What is the height of the roller-coaster at that ...
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482 views

Can energy be created and destroyed?

The indroduction of the principle of conservation of mechanical energy has been tremendously useful from the practical point of view. But .. Consider the case in which we shoot an electron up in the ...
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37 views

How is energy converted when massless spring is attached to a rigid support

Say a massless spring of length l is attached to a rigid support. It is extended to length l + x. Now at this position, the ...
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68 views

Conceptual Question on Work and Potential Energy

I'm confused by classic description of work and negative work. If someone pulls (slowly) on a rope to lift a bucket in a well, I understand that the person is doing work on the bucket and gravity is ...
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62 views

Finding potential energy of a solid hemisphere on top of another solid hemisphere [closed]

A solid hemisphere with radius $b$ has its flat surface glued to a horizontal table. Another solid hemisphere with radius $a$ rests on top of the hemisphere of radius $b$ so that the curved ...
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54 views

Confused about gravitational potential energy [duplicate]

So learning the concept of gravitational potential energy, my professor says that when lifting an object without any acceleration, the force we exert on the object to lift it is the same as the force ...
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1answer
34 views

Separating the potential energy of a system of particles.

Assuming all forces derive form a conservative source and that all forces observe the strong form of the third law, how do we arrive at the following equation? \begin{equation} V=\sum _i V_i+\frac ...
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1answer
47 views

Hooks Law and acceleration [closed]

A 435 gram sharpened piece of iron rebar into a spring loaded device. It takes a force of 355 Newtons to compress the spring by 27.5 cm. With what speed does the rebar shoot out of the device? ...
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45 views

Which inertial observer should I choose when using $\Delta U = -\Delta K$?

I just read and undertood that For any conservative force $F$ (which is not necessarily constant), we can define a potential energy change $\Delta U$ of an object on which the force exerts as ...
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37 views

Show the equivalence of two electrostatic energy

$$U = \frac{1}{2}\iint_{all space}^{ } \frac{\rho(1)\rho(2)}{4\pi\epsilon_{0}r_{12}}dV_{1}dV_{2} $$ and $$U = \frac{\epsilon_{0}}{2}\int_{allspace}^{ } \vec{E} \cdot \vec{E} dV.$$ In the left ...
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Conservative force as a potencial energy gradient

A conservative force $\vec{F}$ is apparently defined as the gradient of a potential energy $U$: $$\vec{F} = -\nabla\ U$$ I am curious if this definition was originally used to describe a ...
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132 views

The Delta-Function Potential

I'm reading through Griffiths Intro to QM 2nd Ed. and when it comes to bound/scattering states (2.5) they say: $E<0 \implies$ bound state $E>0 \implies$ scattering state Why doesn't this ...
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Can anyone give me a simple proof for the sign change of electronic wavefunction when taken around a loop containing a conical intersection?

How and why does the sign of the electronic wavefunction changes when it is taken around a contour? For example, suppose the initial wavefunction is $f(s;S_0)$ at nuclear configuration $S_0$ and now ...
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84 views

Food calories vs gravitational potential energy [closed]

Imagine you could use all of the energy you have ever extracted from your food as a source of propulsion. Is the energy contained in the food you’ve eaten over the course of your lifetime enough to ...
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34 views

Confusion with Grounded Conductor: bringing in a point from infinity

Suppose, for sake of argument, we have a spherical grounded conductor at the origin. Additionally, let our reference voltage be at infinity. Now, I view the potential of a point in space as being the ...
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31 views

trying to understand the electricl potential and potential energy

I am trying to understand some facts on electrical potential and potential energy. It is quite confusing in the text to say that the zero potential could be freely chosen for convenience. In that ...
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1answer
72 views

Integrals and Legendre Polynomials

I was told by a professor that this equality: $$\frac{1}{2\pi}\int_0^{2\pi}\frac{1}{|r-r(\varphi)|}d\varphi = \frac{1}{r}\sum_0^{\infty} \bigl(\frac{a}{r}\bigr)^n{|P_n(0)|}^2$$ ( where: $a$ is the ...
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141 views

Particle in a Box: Energy Less than the Potential Energy

I am reading quantum mechanics from Shankar's Principles of Quantum Mechanics. On page 157 he defines the box potential $V(x)$ as $$ V(x) = \left\{ \begin{array}{rl} 0 &\mbox{ if $|x|< L/2$} ...
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104 views

Using gravitational potential energy and elastic potential energy in a problem?

This is a problem my professor worked on in class: The first thing he said was that we would use position 2 as the "reference height" and I'm not sure what that means exactly. He goes on to say ...
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59 views

How to understand whether potential energy increases or decreases?

I am confused by how to deal with the negative sign in the equation $U=-GMm/r^2$ in the following problem: If the distance between two masses is tripled, then the magnitude of the gravitational ...
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87 views

Confusion with Newton's Second Law : Position & Time Dependence of Force

For a conservative force $\vec{F}(x,y)$ we have $$\vec{F}(x,y) = - \vec{\nabla}\phi(x,y)$$ where $\phi(x,y)$ is a potential function for $\vec{F}(x,y)$. Again, Newton's second law states that $$ ...
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83 views

Simple harmonic oscillator, calculate the trajectory in real space

Potential of a simple harmonic oscillator: $$U=\frac{1}{2}k x^2$$ I'm asked to calculate the trajectory of a particle moving in this potential, with initial conditions $x(t=0) = 0$ and $v(t=0)=v_0$. ...
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90 views

How come we talk about gravitational potential energy and not gravitational potential?

With regards to gravity the equation learned is $$U=-\frac{GMm}{r}$$ And the relationship to force is $$F=-\frac{dU}{dr}$$ In electrostatics we instead talk about electric field and electric ...
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Electrostatic Potential Energy Integral

I'm trying to calculate the total energy of a simple two charge system through the integral for electrostatic energy of a system given in Griffiths' book: $$U = \frac{\epsilon_0}{2}\int_V E^2 dV .$$ ...
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60 views

Calculating change in gravitational potential energy [closed]

A satellite mass $500\ kg$ is elevated from altitude $10000\ km$ to altitude $20000\ km$. Radius of earth is $6378\ km$. Mass of earth is $5.97 \cdot 10^{24}\ kg$. Gravity is given to be $9.81\ m/s $ ...
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Energy to reach the moon

I've been stuck on this question for a couple of days now. Given that the potential energy of a 930 kg object on the Earth's surface is -58.7GJ, calculate the minimum energy required for the 930 ...
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74 views

Picturing Feynman's argument about perpetual motion

So, there is a certain paragraph in Fenyman's book that I'm struggling with for quite some time. It says: "We imagine that there are two classes of machines, those that are not reversible, which ...
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Why airports are generally near sea? [closed]

The generic way to measure the height is from the sea-level. If the airport is near the sea i.e. not at a very height from the sea, then the fuel required to make the air-plane above the sea level ...
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Does a pulled rubber band contain as much energy as a twisted rubber band?

lets say I take two similar rubber bands. One of them I pull until it almost reaches its breaking point. The other I twist until it almost reached its breaking point. Do both of these rubber bands ...
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25 views

Is there a way to measure the energy stored in a twisted rubber band?

I am building an energy storage device using rubber bands. It contains 24 bands which are twisted by a set of gears. I would like to measure (or predict) the amount of energy that the device can ...
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How to meaningfully describe the practical effectiveness of one large bomb versus a series of many small bombs, all else constant? [closed]

Background: Given two sets of conventional bombs (constituted of fuel which explodes by way of chemical decomposition reaction) : Set 1 - One shell of a given volume encasing a given amount of fuel. ...
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Gravitational potential energy and Center of Mass

I've been reading about the Nordtvedt effect, and how Gravitational Binding Energy (GBE) affects total mass. According to the WP article, experimental evidence rules out the existence of this effect. ...
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Where does elastic energy come from?

I vaguely remember reading that the elastic potential energy of a spring, $\frac{1}{2} k x^2$ comes from mass which is turned into energy according to the law $E=mc^2$. I also remember hearing that ...
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148 views

Bound states, scattering states and infinite potentials

I am doing my first semester of Quantum Mechanics and we're using Griffith's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. As he is introducing the Dirac delta function potential he explains bound and scattering ...
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85 views

Why does the work done by an internal force differ from the work done by external force?

Let's consider the following situation. We put a body of mass $m$ at a distance $A$ from the center of Earth. We let the Earth attract the body and analyze the situation at a point $B$, closer to the ...