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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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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70 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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1answer
50 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
91 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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302 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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1answer
398 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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2answers
170 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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1answer
114 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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1answer
138 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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3answers
118 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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2answers
169 views

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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1answer
99 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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2answers
203 views

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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1answer
172 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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3answers
106 views

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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0answers
45 views

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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0answers
66 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 ...
2
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2answers
81 views

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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0answers
230 views

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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1answer
84 views

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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2answers
279 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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3answers
347 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 ...
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1answer
42 views

Comparing work done for two accelerations

Suppose at a time $t_{0}$ a car goes from 0 to 30mph at time $t_{1}$, and then maintains a speed of 30mph until $t_{2}$. After that minute it accelerates, reaching 60mph at time $t_{3}$. I want to ...
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1answer
2k views

Derivation of formula of potential energy by a conservative force [duplicate]

the formula for potential energy by a conservative force is given by: $$ F = -\nabla U(r), $$ which in one dimension may be simplified to: $$ F = -\frac{dU}{dx} .$$ My question is how is it ...
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470 views

How does escape velocity relate to energy and speed?

I have several confusions regarding escape velocity. I am sure I am missing something(s) obvious or maybe I am taught wrong. Lets say we throw an object of any mass at exactly escape velocity of ...
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1answer
325 views

What is the cause of the large damage by atomic bomb?

I recently read in the Feynman Lectures that when the nuclei like that of uranium which are at the crucial level of balance between strong nuclear forces and electrical repulsive forces are taped ...
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2answers
234 views

Two expressions for potential energy in the gravitational field of the earth

Let $M$ be the mass of the earth, considered as a point mass, then the potential energy of a point with distance $r$ away from the center (assume $r > \textrm{radius of earth})$ is $$ U(r) = ...
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1answer
114 views

Why is all the voltage used up in a circuit?

We always assume that all the voltage, in no matter what type of (basic, I guess) circuit we are dealing with, is used up. I can see why this is true. Imagine a circuit with low resistance - and ...
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1answer
214 views

Why potential energy of external force on particle attached to spring is equal to full force multiplied by full displacement?

I am having quite difficult time to understand the meaning of total potential energy on spring. All references I read say that the total potential energy on particle attached to spring is: ...
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3answers
468 views

Potential energy graphs of chemical systems

I really wish someone could dissect this for me in the language of physics. The system is that of two atoms that approximate each other along 'r' (or distance themselves apart). My concerns are ...
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1answer
56 views

Action Reaction Pairs and Work

Say that a ball is sitting in front of a compressed spring launcher. The spring is then released. The spring applies a force on the ball for a certain distance. This force is accompanied by an equal ...
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1answer
213 views

Work done by Internal Forces

Why is it that internal forces do not change the potential energy of the system? Assume that a man stands on earth with a dumbell. If the dumbell is the system, when it is raised a height h, the work ...
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3answers
435 views

Is quantum tunneling related to imaginary time?

I was studying for my exam and looking at the chapter which talks about Potential-energy graphs. Let's take this as an example: My book states that: "If the object is in $B$ and has a total energy ...
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1answer
514 views

Computing average force exerted by ground when jumping

Problem: A man of mass $m$ jumps vertically into the air from a sitting position in which his center of mass (CoM) is at a height $h_1$. When his feet are just about to leave the ground his CoM is at ...
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0answers
76 views

Calculate Potential Gravity Energy converted when star collapses [closed]

We want to calculate how much gravitational potential energy converts to heat, when the star has no nuclear fusion, the gravity will cause the star to shrink in nano seconds. Now assuming the Sun ...
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4answers
370 views

Potential Energy Concept

Imagine a book that we lift it with a force that is exactly equal to the force of gravity so the forces cancel out and the book moves with a constant velocity. Consider the situation after the book ...
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3answers
126 views

Potential energy & entropy of three particles

Let me first say that I am not a physicist, but I am trying to make a simulation on my computer and I have the following question. Let's consider that we have three free charges that somehow can ...
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2answers
220 views

Where do flying gas molecules get their energy from?

If you heat up water in a tank to boiling point, some of the water will turn to steam. Gas bubbles are created in the water. According to Archimedes principle, the gas bubbles will have a force equal ...
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0answers
34 views

How to restore the potential energy? [duplicate]

How to restore the potential energy, of a particle with variable mass and variable coordinate, by сartesian coordinates and mass of the particle? ? Dimension - one dimensional. Data that is to ...
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0answers
22 views

How to find the potential energy? [duplicate]

how to find the potential energy of a particle with variable mass and variable coordinate ? Data that is to compute, only the mass and Cartesian coordinate of the particle, like this: x;m ...
2
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2answers
91 views

Explanation for $M{\ddot{r}}=-\nabla \phi$

Could someone please explain this equation $$M\bf {\ddot{r}}=-\nabla \phi$$ Where $\bf r$ is a position vector and $\phi$ is the potential function. Could someone brief explain the potential function ...
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2answers
288 views

How to show that the gravitational potential energy of a two particle system is -2 times the total kinetic energy, without using the virial theorem?

Consider a two-particle system with identical masses, orbiting in circles about their center of mass. I'm supposed to prove that: $$U_p = -2U_k$$ With $U_p$ potential energy of the system, and $U_k$ ...
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2answers
73 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 ...
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3answers
456 views

Where is the potential energy due to internal interactions in total energy?

In thermodynamics the total energy of a system consists of kinetic energy of motion of the system as a whole, potential energy of the system as a whole due to external force fields, and energy ...
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2answers
67 views

If batteries are a source of energy, would not lower-valued resistors cause a violation of the conservation of energy?

Here's the conundrum I have been facing. Yesterday I asked the question: how can batteries constantly motivate electrons to complete a circuit? (What maintains constant voltage in a battery?) After ...
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1answer
142 views

How do I describe the energy an electron gains (and loses) in a circuit?

I am looking at the simple circumstance of an electron traveling through a long wire by a potential. I see how one would be motivated to use the usual formula, W=F*d, to describe the electron's net ...
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1answer
178 views

What maintains constant voltage in a battery?

I know there's lots of questions that address similar situations, (Batteries connected in Parallel, Batteries and fields?, Naive Question About Batteries, and the oft-viewed I don't understand ...
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76 views

Writing Schrodinger equation with central potential in Atomic unit

I'm struggling to write Schrodinger equation with a central potential in Atomic unit. $$ ...
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1answer
28 views

Calculate amount of energy based on height of object

How can you calculate the amount of energy an object produces that falls from a particular height? Or water. In an eg i would like to know how can you calculate the amount of electricity water can ...
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1answer
528 views

Loss of gravitational potential energy in an infinitely far object

Now consider I went into a rocket which goes an infinite distance far from earth. By infinite I mean very far. The gravitational attraction between me and the earth will significantly decrease and ...