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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overall energy transformation as a diver moves downwards through water [closed]

What is the answer to the following MCQ? A swimmer dives into a very deep pool at high speed. He slows down as he moves towards the bottom of the pool. What is the overall energy ...
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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 ...
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Is electron volt an alternate unit for electric potential? [closed]

My question is: Can an electron volt be considered an alternate unit for electric potential?
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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 ...
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Potential and Kinetic Energy

In engineering school you learn the basic swing problem. Essentially that there is a transfer of kinetic energy (as seen in the velocity at the bottom of as swing) to potential energy at the top of ...
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What's an “Action” and what does the Lagrangian equation mean exactly?

How and why would a particle take the shortest path? $L=KE-PE$? What's the $KE-PE$ mean in English? I understand the 'mechanics' but not the idea itself. Please explain simply, I do know Calculus ...
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Relation between work, kinetic energy and potential energy

We derived two equations in class. The work done between two points $A$, $B$ is equal to the difference between the kinetic energy at the last point and the one at the first point. The work done ...
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What can be known about the formulas for energy only from the fact that it is conserved?

The question is to figure out how the energy can be derived knowing just one thing: There is a quantity called Energy that is conserved over time. The goal is to get an equation that somehow ...
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Calculate magnitude of force acting on some area by falling object

I have simple question: is it possible to calculate magnitude of force acting on some area by falling object? Let's say I have an object with mass $5\text{ kg}$. I drop that object in height 1 ...
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How does a sponge “suck” up water against gravity?

If I take a sponge and place it in a shallow dish of water (i.e. water level is lower than height of sponge), it absorbs water until the sponge is wet, including a portion of the sponge above the ...
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186 views

Do these equations apply to an object on a zip line or slope?

I was looking at the conversion equations for Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy to Velocity here: http://www.ftexploring.com/energy/PE-to-KE.html Would these apply to an object on a zip-line? ...
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Energy stored in a clothespin spring (non linear spring)

I was wondering how one would go about figuring out the energy stored in a spring in a clothespin. When opened the spring is deformed, but I don't have any intuition for why it gets stronger with ...
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Does potential energy in gravitationall field increase mass?

I was just taught (comments) that any type of energy contributes to mass of the object. This must indeed include potential energy in gravitational field. But here, things cease to make sense, have a ...
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197 views

Center of mass of a body on an incline

I am trying to reproduce a calculation by Carre et al. (1995) in which they calculate the shape of a droplet on an incline. My issue is in the derivation of the potential energy (essentially the ...
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157 views

Derivative of $\epsilon$ in Lennard-Jones equation

I just want to calculate the derivative of epsilon for the following Lennard-Jones equation: LJ = $4\sqrt{\epsilon_{ii} \epsilon_{jj}}$ $[(\sigma/ r)^{12}-(\sigma/r)^{6}]$ with respect to ...
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405 views

Kinetic energy of two charged balls at infinite distance between them

If I have two balls with masses and charges $m_1, q_1^{+}$, $m_2, q_2^{+}$, initially held at distance $d$, and then released, how can I know the kinetic energies of each of the balls at infinite ...
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362 views

Physics of every-day life: rotating bag of tea

Whilst studying for my physics courses, I like to drink tea. Today, I noticed that if you pull a bag of tea out of a hot cup of water, it gradually starts to rotate, picking up speed as time ...
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340 views

Potential on a Charged Sheet

I know the field difference across a charged sheet-but what's the potential on a charged sheet? Is it just asymptotic? If we had a thin cylindrical sheet would it be the same? Zero field inside the ...
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Potential energy sign conventions

Almost every book on physics that I read have some weird and non-clear explanations regarding the potential energy. Ok, I do understand that if we integrate a force over some path, we'll get a ...
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Mechanical Equivalent of Heat

Recently I have been looking up James Joule's experiment regarding the mechanical equivalent of heat. After viewing some drawings of the apparatus, I assumed that the lines holding the weights would ...
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Why is potential energy negative when orbiting in a gravitational field?

I had to do a problem, and part of it was to find the mechanical energy of satellite orbiting around mars, and I had all of the information I needed. I thought the total mechanical energy would be the ...
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324 views

Center of mass problem

According to the definition of potential energy, we use $U= mhg . $ In the figure below , A thin uniform rod of mass m and length h is positioned vertically above an anchored frictionless pivot ...
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Negative potential energy of gravity

Does the negative potential energy in the gravitational field have to be considered in calculating the total mass of the system in question (because of $E=mc^2$)? If so it seems to me that the ...
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Center of mass error - calculating systematic error in change in PE

Suppose we have to calculate systematic error in change in PE. Let's suppose systematic error due to scale is 1%. I'm confused about the center of mass error. \begin{align} \Delta PE = m*g*h_1 - ...
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157 views

Escape velocity to intersection of two gravitational fields

Find the minimal velocity needed for a meteorite of mass $m$ to get to earth from the moon. Hint: the distance between the center of earth and the center of moon is $\approx 60 R_E$, and the ...
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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 ...
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Gravitational potential energy of mass between two planets

Suppose I want to launch a rocket from earth to some point $O$ between the center of earth and the center of moon (on a straight line connecting their centers), where the gravitational force of the ...
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Electrostatic Potential Energy Derivation

How is the boxed step , physically as well as mathematically justified and correct ? Source:Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_potential_energy As work done = $- \Delta U $. for Conservative ...
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885 views

Given a potential energy function, find expression of the force of a particle?

This comes from an AP review packet. I'm given a potential energy functon, $$U(r)=br^{-3/2} + c,$$ where $b$ and $c$ are constants, and need to find the expression for the force on the particle. ...
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Electrostatic Potential Definition

In the book, Introduction to electrodynamics by David J. Griffiths, he introduces potential separately as a function and potential energy through that function. How can potential be defined before ...
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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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233 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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3answers
571 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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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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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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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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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 ...