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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What is potential energy truly?

I have a problematic question for which I have been unable to attain a satisfactory answer. What is potential energy truly? - I have read about how potential energy can be seen as the "highering" ...
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0answers
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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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How is potential energy actually stored in a steel spring at the atomic level?

Elasticity is one the most intriguing phenomena, wiki gives a summary explanation of what happens in a steel spring: the atomic lattice changes size and shape when forces are applied (energy is ...
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8answers
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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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Is it possible to prove that planets should be approximately spherical using the calculus of variations?

Is it possible to use the Lagrangian formalism involving physical terms to answer the question of why all planets are approximately spherical? Lets assume that a planet is 'born' when lots of ...
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Point charge potential (sign problem)

I'm a bit embarrassed, but I'm not able to compute the electric potential at point $P$ (at a distance $R$ from the origin) generated by a positive unitary point charge in the origin with the right ...
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Why does a system try to minimize potential energy?

In mechanics problems, especially one-dimensional ones, we talk about how a particle goes in a direction to minimize potential energy. This is easy to see when we use cartesian coordinates: For ...
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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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1answer
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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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About mass defect

Here's how my book explains mass defect: Particles inside the nucleus interact with each other - they feel attraction. The potential energy $U$ of such attraction is negative, because in absence ...
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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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572 views

Can energy be created and destroyed?

The indroduction of the principle of conservation of mechanical energy has been tremendously useful from the practical point of view. But .. Consider the case in which we shoot an electron up in the ...
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3answers
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Has $E=mc^2$ been experimentally verified for macroscopic objects with potential energy?

In relation to this question: What is potential energy truly?, I'm wondering if $E=mc^2$ has been experimentally verified to hold true for macroscopic objects with increased potential energy? I'm ...
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1answer
208 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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2answers
305 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 ...
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1answer
119 views

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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2answers
77 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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436 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 ...
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1answer
73 views

We create systems with different values of Energy? [closed]

I understand that Energy is a conserved quantity in a system. A number, that's always the same to the system. However, don't we determine such a number? I mean, we can create systems(Or study them ...
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1answer
216 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 ...
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2answers
192 views

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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3answers
452 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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6answers
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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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While holding an object, no work done but costs energy (in response to a similar question)

I read the answer to Why does holding something up cost energy while no work is being done? and wanting to know more, I asked my teacher about it without telling him what I read here. Instead of ...
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3answers
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Is there energy stored when iron is magnetized?

When a piece of iron is magnetized, and the domains are aligned, Is there energy stored? If so, how much energy is stored? If there is an attraction between that same iron and the source of the ...
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1answer
271 views

Gravitational binding energy and integrated potential energy not the same?

Before looking up the formula for the gravitational binding energy of a uniform sphere, I simply figured that the general formula for binding energy of an arbitrarily-shaped mass distribution would be ...
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2answers
807 views

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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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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1answer
45 views

Metric in Lagrangian and the minimum total potential energy principle

I was wondering why physical systems "like" to go to the minimum of potential energy and I found this question, that tries to justify the minumum total potential energy principle. I was also reading ...
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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 ...
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2answers
107 views

electrical potential energy stored in vacumm for a single point charge?

I have come to know the electrostatic potential energy in vacuum is given by $${\frac{1}{2}} \epsilon_0\int d^3x {E^2} $$ and this energy is due to the mutual electrostatic coulomb potential energy. ...
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1answer
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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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4answers
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Why can't the work done by a non-conservative force be zero?

Why can't the work done by a non-conservative force be zero? The displacement along a closed path is always zero. So, whatever be the type of force, variable or constant, the work has to be zero. Why ...
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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 ...
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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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5answers
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Relation between potential energy and forces

Can you also explain why can't we define potential energy corresponding to a non-conservative internal force? Non-conservative forces are those which don't depend on the initial and final states but ...
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2answers
434 views

Signs in proof of gravitation potential energy (GPE)

Proof of gravitational potential energy. Work done by gravity in bringing mass from infinity to a distance of $r$ between masses. When we use the integration formula and arrive at the answer we ...
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1answer
638 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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1answer
523 views

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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1answer
119 views

Positions and corresponding terminology of “acoustics energy”?

From limited knowledge, decades ago, dating back to the nineteenth century: Ohm's law of specific acoustic energies was the first biological application of Fourier's theorem. Actually, it was ...
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115 views

Susceptibilities and response functions

It is often confusing whether a susceptibility is the same as a response function, specially that often they are used interchangeably, in the context of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. Very ...
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77 views

Where is the potential energy saved? [duplicate]

If you increase the h (=height), potential energy will be increased given by U=mgh. Where does the energy go, into atoms?
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1answer
326 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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Why don't we consider electrostatic energy of the pair in the case of pair production?

I have seen this Wikipedia article and many others, but in none of them I find any mention of the electro-static energy of the generated pair. Why? I mean, the energy conservation should be written ...
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401 views

Elastic potential energy of compressed spring? [duplicate]

If a compressed spring is dissolved in acid what happens to the elastic potential energy of the spring?
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341 views

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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1answer
1k views

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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3answers
1k 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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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 ...
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2answers
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Work done by magnetic field on magnetic dipole

In the above slide, it reads that $W=\int\mu B sin(\theta)d\theta=\mu B cos(\theta)$. But, I thought that $\int\mu B sin(\theta)d\theta=-\mu B cos(\theta)$ by some calculus calculation. Can ...