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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Energy Gain with capacitor?

I have a question about energy gain in capacitors. Assume the following system: As the electron gets accelerated inside the capacitor, it will have more kinetic energy coming out than going in. But ...
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227 views

Orbital mechanics and rocketry: Is it ever a good idea to intentionally lower periapsis?

tl;dr: Hohmann Transfer appears to be the optimal way to achieve a circular-to-circular orbit, but is it possible to lower the periapsis in order to achieve a more elliptical orbit with apoapsis at ...
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What is the mathematical justification for the quadratic approximation to the energy of a spring in a one-dimensional lattice?

It follows easily from this draw, the length $l$ of this spring as a function of the vertical distance $x$, as $l(x)=\sqrt{1+x^{2}}$ Now, $l$ can be expressed as a MacLaurin expansion: $$l(x) = ...
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Potential energy during vertical fall

Suppose I have a weightless spring connected perpendicularly to the ground, and it has on top of it some weightless surface. Now, I release some sticky object from height $h$ above the system of light ...
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51 views

About electrostatic potential energy

I consider an electron (charge $-e$) in $x=0$ and a constant electric field $E(x) \equiv E $. If the electron has initial velocity $v_0$ with the same direction of $E$, then its potential energy is $$ ...
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Gravitational potential outside Lagrangian points or Lagrange points

The diagram in Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable? shows that the gravitational potential decreases outside the ring of Lagrange points — this image shows it even more clearly: If I ...
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192 views

Work done by gravity on Water

Now according to me we would see change in potential energy of system and equate it to the work done by gravity. But when we see this the first column lowers by $H/2$ and right one rises by $H/2$ ...
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74 views

Gravitational potential energy

Consider two places next to each other: Place 1, where there is a gravitational field whereas Place 2 - there's no field. Now if we lifted a box in place 1, it gains potential energy. Then, we move ...
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324 views

Proof that flux through a surface is independent of the inner objects' arrangement

$$\Phi=\iint_{\partial V}\mathbf{g} \cdot d \mathbf{A}=-4 \pi G M$$ Essentially, why is $\Phi$ independent of the distribution of mass inside the surface $\partial V$, and the shape of surface ...
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Electron volt and Voltage

Voltage is the work done per unit charge. Given by: V = W/q Electron volt is the maximum kinetic energy gained by the electron in falling through a potential difference of 1 volt. Given by: K.E ...
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645 views

Electric potential energy and speed

If we have electric field and we put electron there , the electron will move in the opposite direction as the electric field. My question is electron in that direction will speed up or slows down ? ...
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What is potential energy in special relativity?

I know what is rest energy $E_0=m_0 c^2$, total energy $E=\gamma E_0$, kinetic energy $E- E_0=(\gamma-1) E_0$, and momentum $p=\gamma m_0 c$. But what is potential energy in special relativity?
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Locally every force admits a potential?

I have a little doubt about a force being or not conservative. Well, as I understood, some forces cannot be expressed as exterior derivative of some scalar potential because the work done by the force ...
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2k views

Higher To Lower Electric Potential

The question I am working on is: "An electron moving parallel to the x axis has an initial speed of $4.65 \cdot 10^6~m/s$ at the origin. Its speed is reduced to $1.27 \cdot 10^5 ~m/s$ at the point ...
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573 views

Particle coming across a step potential barrier

My quantum mechanics textbook says that when a particle (in the classical case) comes across a potential-step barrier of finite height, if it has sufficient energy to surmount the barrier, it will ...
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481 views

How do I correctly express the work required to put an object with positive buoyancy down into a certain depth (of water)?

It seems to me that I can express the work required to put an object under water in the same way that I express lifting an object up against gravity. I. e., in both cases I increase the potential ...
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416 views

Potential energy of a spring

I'm puzzled about the potential energy of a spring. A spring is a conservative system. So the potential energy should be defined only up to a constant -- can be defined to be 0 anywhere. However, ...
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1answer
295 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 ...
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452 views

Shape of a string/chain/cable/rope/wire?

The height of a string in a gravitational field in 2-dimensions is bounded by $h(x_0)=h(x_l)=0$ (nails in the wall) and also $\int_0^l ds= l$. ($h(0)=h(l)=0$, if you take $h$ as a function of arc ...
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202 views

Why is the spring constant $W_p''(0)$?

According to my physics book, the spring constant can be calculated from knowing the potential energy, with the formula $k = W_p''(0)$. I don't really understand why, and the book doesn't explain it ...
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206 views

Potential energy of a spring

I have a little problem with the potential energy of a spring... I hope you can help me! I have two coupled pendula, given by two masses $m$ fixed to two rigid bars (that haven't any mass) and with ...
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2answers
305 views

Measuring work done by gravity over non-constant gravitational acceleration

A question from an example from a MIT Classical Mechanics Lecture on Work. Here's the given definition for gravitational potential energy (~32:00): "The ...
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1answer
235 views

exercise concerning the inclined plane

I have an exercise to ask yourself. A ball of mass m = 5 g starts at rest and travels 50 cm along a ramp inclined at 45 ° to the horizontal. a) If we imagine frictionless motion of the ball along the ...
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Potential energy in $E_f^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2$?

Let's consider $$E_f^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2$$ where the $mc^2$ is the rest energy due to the rest mass -- in Finnish "lepomassa". $$ \sqrt{(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2} - mc^2~=~(\gamma-1)mc^2$$ is the kinetic ...
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186 views

Elastic potential

I have a doubt: elastic potential energy is given by: $U=\frac{k}{2}x^2+K$ but does elastic potential exist? (for example: potential gravitational energy is given by $U=mgz+K$ and gravitational ...
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412 views

What is the energy of interaction between a point charge and an infinite cylinder?

I don't remember enough from my electromagnetism course and I can't find any simple, full example on this subject. I know, that I can consider the cylinder as a wire with the same charge density ...
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Is there a mathematical derivation of potential energy that is *not* rooted in the conservation of energy?

For simplicity I'll consider only gravity, but in general this question only applies to conservative forces. As per my understanding, the way one gets to the equation for gravitational potential ...
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1answer
625 views

Potential Energy in General Relativity

I often hear about how general relativity is very complicated because of all forms of energy are considered, including gravitation's own gravitational binding energy. I have two questions: In ...
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1answer
556 views

Derivation of the self gravitational potential energy of a sphere

I have been searching on the Internet but have not found a derivation of the formula for the self gravitational potential energy of a sphere. Can someone show how to do this? I assume it involved 6 ...
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888 views

What is meant by potential energy for a particle in a field?

Potential energy is usually defined using a field and a particle that experiences the field force, as the work down in moving a unit particle from infinity to a position in that field. But some ...
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2answers
351 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? $$V=\frac{1}{2}\left(\frac{d^2 V}{{dq_i}{dq_j}}\right)_0$$
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1answer
93 views

Is more energy required to magnetize based on its distance to other objects?

I have had this question since I was in college physics, but never could figure out how to express it. Well, now I think I have it. Let's imagine two scenarios A and B. Both scenarios start with two ...
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93 views

Do field and potential energy always come together?

Is energy directly due to a field always potential energy? Is potential energy always due to a field? From the two Wikipedia links: a field is a physical quantity that has a value for each ...
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553 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 ...
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1answer
298 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 ...
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580 views

What is the most efficient machine for translating gravitational potential energy of one mass into kinetic energy of a different mass?

As the question states, what is our current best machine for translating falling gravitational potential energy, such as a large weight, into launching a smaller projectile vertically? A lever? A ...
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Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable?

This diagram from wikipedia shows the gravitational potential energy of the sun-earth two body system, and demonstrates clearly the semi-stability of the L1, L2, and L3 lagrangian points. The blue ...
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256 views

Why do hydrogen atoms attract?

That is, why is the potential energy with the orbitals overlapping less than with the Hydrogen atoms 'independent'. Similarly, why is a noble gas configuration stabler than if an electron were to be ...
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1answer
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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, ...
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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, ...
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546 views

why is total electron energy of an electron in metal negative?

In my textbook, it says that any electron bound in metals, modelled as some potential well $U$, has negative total electron energy, as shown below in the figure. Why is the total electron energy ...
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what is the 2D gravity potential?

In 3D, I can calculate the total force due to gravity acting on a point on the surface of the unit sphere of constant density, where I choose units so that all physical constants (as well as the ...
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Does the mass of an object change as it moves away from the earth?

The mass of a helium nucleus is less than the mass of two isolated protons and two isolated neutrons. When the component hadrons are assembled, this mass is lost as energy ($E=mc^2$). This makes it ...
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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 ...
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1answer
220 views

Atomic weight in respect to the binding energy?

My book says that the weight of helium (with the nucleon number of 4 and proton of 2) is that of $6,6447*10^{-27}$ kg. Earlier the book stated that if the proton number is left out it means that the ...
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Electricity & Magnetism - Is an electric field infinite?

The inverse square law for an electric field is: $$ E = \frac{Q}{4\pi\varepsilon_{0}r^2} $$ Here: $$\frac{Q}{\varepsilon_{0}}$$ is the source strength of the charge. It is the point charge divided ...
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Electrostatic Potential Energy

I have read many books on Mechanics and Electrodynamics and the one thing that has confused me about electrostatic potential energy is its derivation .One of the classical derivations is : ...
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Direction of rotation of proton in magnetic field--opposite to a dipole

Chatroom created by @pcr for discussing this: http://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/2824/direction-of-rotation-of-proton-in-magnetic-field Here's a small paradoxical question I was asked a long ...
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Still trying to understand gravitational potential and Poisson's equation?

A week or so back I asked a question about the gravitational potential field $$\phi=\frac{-Gm}{r}, \qquad r\neq 0, $$ and how to show the Laplacian of $\phi$ equals zero for $r\neq 0$? Eventually, ...
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Why no basis vector in Newtonian gravitational vector field?

In my textbook, the gravitational field is given by$$\mathbf{g}\left(\mathbf{r}\right)=-G\frac{M}{\left|\mathbf{r}\right|^{2}}e_{r}$$ which is a vector field. On the same page, it is also given as a ...