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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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Trying to understand Laplace's equation

I'm struggling here so please excuse if I'm writing nonsense. I understand that the gravitational potential field, a scalar field, is given by $$\phi=\frac{-Gm}{r}$$ where $\phi$ is the ...
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Asynchronous generator run in vacuum chamber

what will be happen if we put asynchronous generator in vacuum chamber & run it above its synchronous speed. After reaching its over synchronous speed we will cut off electrical supply. Can it run ...
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storing energy (as mass)

When chemical energy is released mass is reduced, if only by a negligible amount. Presumably that's true for all energy. And presumably that works in reverse as well: storing energy involves an ...
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Differences In Potential Equations

Could someone please describe the differences between the uses each of these potential equations: Potential due to a point charge: $V = \frac{k \cdot q}{r} - \frac{k \cdot ...
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Terminology question about energy

I'm looking for the appropriate term to use for what gets "used up" as potential energy is converted to heat and work. For example, some of the the energy in solar radiation is converted by ...
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Potential energy in a gravitational field

I've seen the following formula for the potential energy of a body in a gravitational field ($\rho$ is the density, $g$ is the gravitational acceleration): $$ \rho g \int_E z dV $$ Can you please ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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What is the physical reason a $+5V$ equipotential coutour cannot intersect a $-5V$ equipotential coutour?

Now I've been told that equipotential contours with different values can never intersect. That is, if one level is 5V and one is -5V, they can't intersect. This make sense to me mathematically (one ...
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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 ...
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Is there really no meaning in potential energy and potential?

I have been told all my physics life that potential energy between two mass/charge has no meaning and only their difference has meaning. The same goes for electric potential, only the difference ...
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Could someone remind me what this means again? $\nabla U = \pm F$

You know that for a potential function (conservative force/fields) that $\nabla U = \pm \vec{F}$ In math, we don't have that minus sign, we have only the plus one. What does it mean if you get rid ...
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Why is gravitational potential energy negative, and what does that mean?

I usually think of gravitational potential energy as representing just what it sounds like: the energy that we could potentially gain, using gravity. However, the equation for it (derived by ...
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Potential energy of a charged ring

Consider a ring of radius $R$, and charge density $\rho$. What will be the potential energy of the ring in its self field? The best I can do: $$dq = \rho R \cdot \, d \alpha $$ $$E_p = 2 \pi R \cdot ...
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In continuum mechanics, what is work potential in the context of total potential energy?

I'm reading a book on the finite element method. Specifically I'm looking at the background material where they are discussing potential energy, equilibrium, and the Rayleigh–Ritz method. The book ...
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What is the electric potential at a point?

1) What does the electric potential at a point exactly mean? My teacher tells me that current flows from higher potential to lower potential but when I ask him the reason, he fails to give me a ...