4
votes
2answers
61 views

Sea surfer position displacement

Waves are means by which the energy propagates through a medium (e.g., sea water). This is not associated with a net movement of water in the direction of wave propagation. If this is the case, then ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

Sign of gravitational force

I'm reading Lanczos's The variational principles of mechanics, and on pp. 80-81 there is an example involving a system made up of $n$ rigid bars, freely jointed at their end points, and the two free ...
3
votes
2answers
87 views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

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 ...
5
votes
0answers
207 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
129 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
222 views

Can a particle with non-zero angular momentum pass through the center of a spherical potential?

Suppose you have a particle of mass $m$ moving in a potential $V(r) = -\frac{k}{r^2}$, with $r^2 = x^2+y^2+z^2$ and $k > 0$. Since the angular momentum $l$ is conserved, the particle will move in a ...
1
vote
2answers
272 views

Deriving the Lorentz force from velocity dependent potential

We can achieve a simplified version of the Lorentz force by $$F=q\bigg[-\nabla(\phi-\mathbf{A}\cdot\mathbf{v})-\frac{d\mathbf{A}}{dt}\bigg],$$ where $\mathbf{A}$ is the magnetic vector potential and ...
3
votes
2answers
227 views

Coincidence, purposeful definition, or something else in formulas for energy

In the small amount of physics that I have learned thus far, there seems to be a (possibly superficial pattern) that I have been wondering about. The formula for the kinetic energy of a moving ...
3
votes
2answers
250 views

The “stationary potential energy” condition for static equilibrium in mechanical systems

I've often read that, for a mechanical system which can be described by $n$ generalized coordinates $q_1,...,q_n$, a point $\mathbf{Q}=(Q_1,...,Q_n)$ is a point of equilibrium if and only if the ...
10
votes
1answer
930 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
302 views

How much (usable) potential energy is stored in a compound bow?

I have done a bit of reading about the energy stored in bows, but I haven't seen anywhere a description of how much energy actually is stored. Clearly there are many factors, bow design being ...
2
votes
2answers
367 views

Meaning of subscript in $V=\frac{1}{2}\left(\frac{d^2 V}{{dq_i}{dq_j}}\right)_0$

This is probably a simple question, but what does the subscript $0$ mean in the following expression? $$V=\frac{1}{2}\left(\frac{d^2 V}{{dq_i}{dq_j}}\right)_0$$
2
votes
2answers
572 views

Lever Mechanics - How to formulate an ideal lever launch

Let's say I have a simple lever as shown below, and the lever is massless and the pivot is frictionless and there is no air resistance. I'm thinking the cradle for the projectile would have to have a ...
4
votes
1answer
314 views

speed of sound and the potential energy of an ideal gas; Goldstein derivation

I am looking the derivation of the speed of sound in Goldstein's Classical Mechanics (sec. 11-3, pp. 356-358, 1st ed). In order to write down the Lagrangian, he needs the kinetic and potential ...
3
votes
1answer
185 views

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, ...
0
votes
2answers
97 views

Can a mechanical systems on hold be switched off, in another way than just letting it do it's thing?

Can the value of the potential energy, which is responsible for driving the system, diminish in time, while the system itself is stationary during that time? Can there be dissipation in a system, ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Rubber Band Forces

I have a question regarding the force a band places on an object. Say I have a rubber band wrapped around 2 pegs at a certain distance, and at that distance I know the pounds of force per inch it is ...
3
votes
3answers
481 views

About constructing potential energy functions

There are many classical systems with different potential functions. My problem is that I do not understand how one can construct a certain potential function for a certain system. Are there any ...
0
votes
1answer
200 views

Violation of conservation of energy and potential energy between objects

I would like to clarify my question. I have numbered them to be independent questions For any conservative fields, $\vec{F} = -\nabla U$. Which means the restoring force is opposite to the ...
2
votes
2answers
473 views

Does the potential energy of fluid rising on a string change?

Lets say I have a glass of water at rest. Then I go and hang a string above the water (vertically), such as the end of the string is immersed in the water. Over time some of the water is going to ...