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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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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Electric potential energy and signs

I know that electric potential is negative near a negative charge and positive near a positive charge. But does this mean a small positive 'test' charge has a negative electric potential energy near a ...
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886 views

Potential energy for different states

While studying thermal physics at school, I have been taught that solids simply have more potential energy than the liquids and gases. Note that it was said that this potential energy is due to the ...
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58 views

Why is the objective function used in Nudged Elastic Band method reasonable?

In Nudged Elastic Band (NEB) method, which is used to find reaction pathways when both initial and final states are know, an objective function is first constructed and then minimized to find reaction ...
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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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266 views

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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56 views

Potential Energy of Springs and Gravity, and Work of a force

I am currently really stuck on this problem and I am not sure how to actually solve it, I think I can reason it out logically but I do not know how to show it. Here it is and under I will show what I ...
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72 views

Help understanding the solution to a problem regarding kinetic energy of a group of point charges

The problem provided by my professor goes as follows: "Now consider a situation in which all charges are equal to q and they simultaneously become "unglued". What speed will each charge have when a ...
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35 views

Mathematical misunderstanding of Work-Potential Energy Theorem?

This is a relatively basic question, but I don't understand why it is the case. This is from my dynamics book and is mainly a mathematical misunderstanding. $$ \ dU = F\cos\theta ds $$ Which means ...
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24 views

Ballistic Pendulum question?

I am answering a question regarding the ballistic pendulum, and the teacher gave this worksheet. I have figured out both t (time) and the change in y. Where I am getting confused is where he wrote out ...
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39 views

Violation of conservation of energy… or not?

The work done by surface tension is double the increase in potential energy. This is a clear violation of conservation of energy. What is the flaw here? Work done by surface tension is \begin{align} ...
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1answer
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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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87 views

What happens to gas molecules after ionization?

I know that gas molecules conduct electricity after they get ionized but what will happen if we keep increasing the voltage even after ionization? Will it explode? If it will then how much energy ...
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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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58 views

Finding the components of the tensor for potential and kinetic energy

I have a rather poor understanding of what a tensor is, but enough to apply it to the biggest part of the classical mechanics I'm studying. However, I've run into a small problem while studying "Free ...
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528 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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Modelling gravitational potential of a galaxy

I am interested in modelling the gravitational potential of a disc-shaped galaxy with radius $R$, i.e. solving the 2D Poisson equation numerically by Gauss-Seidel relaxation: $$\nabla^2 \phi = 4\pi G ...
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300 views

What is the minimum physical distance between two electrons?

If electrons repel, then it seems to me that energy is required to decrease the distance between two electrons. Since energy and mass are equivalent, adding energy to a system also adds some mass. ...
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589 views

Differences between time-independent and time-dependent Schrödinger equation for potential generation

Suppose I wanted to develop a potential describing the interaction between two lithium atoms. One way to do this is to calculate the energy between the two lithium atoms for various distances and ...
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Generalization of Feynman's derivation of the formula for gravitational potential energy in FLP volume I

In the Feynman Lectures on Physics, Feynman derives the formula for gravitational potential energy by applying a line of reasoning he borrowed from Carnot on reversible weight lifting machines (FLP I, ...
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Can anyone give me a simple proof for the sign change of electronic wavefunction when taken around a loop containing a conical intersection?

How and why does the sign of the electronic wavefunction changes when it is taken around a contour? For example, suppose the initial wavefunction is $f(s;S_0)$ at nuclear configuration $S_0$ and now ...
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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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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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148 views

Infinite chain of alternating charge

The problem There is an infinite chain (1d) of alternating charges that are in a distance a from each other. That is there is one charge +q and next to it -q and so on. Now calculate how much work it ...
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Deriving the curve of a cantilever

Essentially, there is a beam of length L and negligible mass sticking out of a wall with a mass Mg hanging at the end of it. We are given an equation for elastic energy (which I don't think needs to ...
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222 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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Why molecules in this potential have a common average distance $r_m$ to their neighbors?

A commonly used potential describing intermolecular interactions in liquids and real gases is the so-called Lennard-Jones potential. In this model the interaction of atoms and molecules with each ...
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What does it mean to charge a length of wire up to potential v?

I have to study the text "On the Theory of the Electric Telegraph," By William Thomson, 1855. I am having trouble gaining a conceptual understanding of the opening: "Let c be the electro-statical ...
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23 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 ...
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60 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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44 views

Variation of Electrostatic Potential with Distance in a Uniform Field

I came across this question in a problem book: If a proton is released from rest in a uniform electric field, does the electric potential at those points where the electron moves increase or decrease. ...
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Questions regarding rubbing catfur on glass

I have certain questions regarding the electrostatic charge developed by this rubbing effects: 1-what is the threshold for electrostatic charges by this process? 2-can we define potential energy ...
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82 views

Saddle point and transition state of a molecule

During a transition of a molecule from one state to another, it pass through a transition state. This transition state, mathematically speaking, is a saddle point. That means, the second derivative ...
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49 views

Active and passive transformations and the change in potential energy

Under active transformation, the particle moves. On the other hand, for a passive one, the coordinate is just relabel. I've read that the passive one will not affect the potential energy and the ...
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125 views

Electric Potential of a Cube Made of Point Charges

I'm trying to find the potential energy of multiple geometric shapes made entirely out of point charges. This particular shape is a cube made out of two different point charges, A and B, each ...
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Interpretation of contribution of gravitational potential energy to the gravitational field

In terms of General relativity we have as a matter of principle that anything that has inertial mass contributes to gravity. All forms of potential energy have inertial mass, it follows that the ...
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102 views

Potential energy: Electric field two spherical charges

I want to determine the potential energy of two equally charged spherical charges by using the equation: $V_{pot}= \int_V \frac{1}{2} \epsilon_0 E^2 dV$ and therefore I was wondering what I has to ...
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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 ...