The time rate of change of energy

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68
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6answers
10k views

Why does public mains power use 50-60 Hz and 100-240 V?

Is there a physical reason behind the frequency and voltage in the mains electricity? I do not want to know why exactly a certain value was chosen; I am rather interested to know why that range/order ...
44
votes
9answers
18k views

What practical issues remain for the adoption of Thorium reactors?

From what I've read on thorium reactors, there's enormous benefit to them. Their fuel is abundant enough to power human civilization for centuries, their fission products are relatively short-lived, ...
27
votes
9answers
10k views

Why don't modern spacecraft use nuclear power?

The Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft launched in 1977 with Plutonium as their source of electricity. 34 years later they claim these two spacecraft have enough power to last them until at least 2020. That ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it possible to build a thermoelectric nuclear power plant?

Current nuclear power plants are essentially an enhanced version of a kettle, which seems like a stupidity caused by a lack of other options. We heat the water which turns to steam which rotates the ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

How big is a 1kW fire?

What is the size/scale of a wood fire that is producing 1kW? I'd like to improve my ability to conceptualize various power scales.
13
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2answers
229 views

Could a mirror array used for thermal solar power plant double as a telescope at night?

I was looking at the Ivanpah Solar facility and it occurred to me that the large array of mirrors could double as some sort of telescope array at night. The climate in the desert would be ideal for ...
11
votes
4answers
15k views

Why do power lines sag when they are heated up?

I was reading some information about the 2003 power blackout in the Northeastern US. Beginning early in the afternoon of August 14, 2003 big transmission lines began to fail in First Energy's ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

why aren't there nuclear powered aircraft?

I know this might sound like more of an engineering question that about physics, and it probably is, but bear with me: i'm still not sure if the answer to my question lies in the physics or in the ...
9
votes
8answers
10k views

Why is a 1mW laser dangerous?

In our Physics lab we have a 1 milliwatt (0.001W) helium neon laser. Despite the low power, we were cautioned not to even look at reflections of the beam as it could cause permanent eye damage - why ...
9
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4answers
18k views

How does power consumption vary with the processor frequency in a typical computer?

I am looking for an estimate on the relationship between the rate of increase of power usage as the frequency of the processor is increased. Any references to findings on this would be helpful.
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Trying to understand jet engine [closed]

I'm trying to understand at a high level how a jet engine works. I want to know if the following summary I wrote is more or less accurate: The jet compresses regular air into a combustion chamber. ...
8
votes
1answer
993 views

Why does it take so long to make a nuclear bomb?

So as I know nuclear bombs are derived from fission reactions: By providing the nucleus with enough power to trigger a chain reaction. If uranium was present why does it take so much to make a nuclear ...
7
votes
5answers
809 views

Difference between ways of transmitting power

There are two ways to transmit the same amount of power, 1 amp at 1 million volts or 1 million amps at 1 volt. Conceptually what is the difference? How can I think about it conceptually? I would ...
7
votes
6answers
5k views

When driving uphill why can't I reach a velocity that I would have been able to maintain if I started with it?

Consider these two situations when driving on a long straight road uphill: Starting at a high velocity $v_h$, which the car is able to maintain. Starting at a lower velocity $v_l$, and then trying ...
7
votes
4answers
689 views

Optimal speed for the water wheel

The hydroelectricity plants extract the potential energy of highly deployed massive object (water) as it falls down. Without turbine, all that energy would be converted into speed (kinetic energy) at ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did the microwave oven only heat my coffee half as much as expected?

A sticker on my microwave oven states its output effect to be $750\ \mathrm W$, which is $180$ calories per second. This means that heating $250\ \mathrm g$ of water by one degree Celsius would take $...
6
votes
2answers
269 views

Saturn V F-1 engines and beyond

I read that the F-1 engine from the 1st stage of the Saturn V rocket is the most powerful engine ever created by mankind, delivering ~200 gigawatts of power. Thus, I have got two questions: Will ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Would the ionic wind power fence actually work?

Described here and in the references (patent, patent), the idea is to use a large fence as a grid electrode. Spray water droplets near a high voltage to charge them, and then the wind blows them away,...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

Quantum Computing Power Advantages

Currently, the world's fastest supercomputer runs at 17.59 Petaflops, which consumes 9 megawatts of electricity. A qubit-based quantum computer has the potential to operate much more quickly for some ...
5
votes
2answers
512 views

How do you calculate power at the focal point of a mirror?

I'm a Mechanical Engineering student and I'm working on my senior project, so I need help. My project is about designing a solar dish having a diameter of 1.5 meters and a focal length of 60cm. so at ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Intuitively, Why is Power Proportional to $I^2R$

As the resistance of a circuit goes down, the power increases because the current increases, assuming constant voltage. Why is this? I feel like resistance and current are inversely proportional, so ...
5
votes
1answer
410 views

What type of solar energy technology has the most future potential?

In terms of dollars per watt, using theoretical efficiency limits, what technology holds the most promise to become the primary solar energy capture technology? My hunch is carbon-based modules, ...
5
votes
2answers
107 views

How is the dot product a generalization of multiplication?

I've seen an interesting explanation for lots of what I previously thought were unmotivated definitions in Newtonian mechanics, namely that power is always defined as effort times flow. But when ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Averaging decibels

Wikipedia: The decibel (dB) is a logarithmic unit that indicates the ratio of a physical quantity (usually power or intensity) relative to a specified or implied reference level. If I ...
5
votes
1answer
114 views

Does ambient day/night temperature change have significant energy generation potential

Is there significant energy to capture in daily day/night temperature change? For instance, I see from posts such as the following that there are materials with varying coefficients of linear thermal ...
5
votes
1answer
207 views

Poynting theorem and entering power

I refer to the time-domain version of the Poyinting theorem in electro-magnetism: $- \displaystyle \oint_S (\mathbf{E} \times \mathbf{H}) \cdot d\mathbf{S} - \int_V \mathbf{E} \cdot \mathbf{J}_i \ dV ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What does 1714 mean in hydraulics?

After reading this answer: http://www.answers.com/Q/What_does_1714_mean_in_hydraulics, I still do not have a good idea of what 1714 represents. In fact, in the equasions I was working with I saw a ...
4
votes
2answers
727 views

What is a single word that describes the idea of the second time derivative of energy?

I think about position, its time derivative speed, and its second time derivative, acceleration. I would like to identify a single word that can be used as a handle for the second time derivative of ...
4
votes
4answers
632 views

Is a billion volt electrical transmission line possible?

Because $$ P_{\,\displaystyle\rm loss}=\frac{P^2R}{V^2} $$ in an electrical line where $R$ is the total resistance Why not use a $1$ billion volt line instead of a $800\,\rm kv$ line? Is there a ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the luminosity per square meter hitting the Earth's surface from the Sun?

So I know that the Sun's luminosity is $3.839 \cdot 10^{26}$. What I want is the luminosity per square meter at the Earth's surface. So this is what I have got so far: I know the distance to the ...
4
votes
1answer
489 views

Why is there no upper-bound on power-efficiency of Hydro-turbines?

We have Betz's law, an upper bound on power efficiency, for wind-turbines. But there is no theoretical upper limit on hydro-turbines, Why this is so? Is it mainly due to the incompressibility of ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Is it possible to get energy from electrical wire using induction?

Pardon me if this is a stupid question but my physics courses are from a long long time ago and I was a teenager back then. ;) Electricity in a wire generates electromagnetism, right? Would it be ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

Do resistor-based fan regulators save no power at all?

I have heard that the traditional resistor-based fan speed regulators are inefficient. In fact, I have noticed that such regulators tend to get hot when the fan is set to low speed. However, does that ...
4
votes
2answers
186 views

Why isn't the product rule used in the definition of mechanical work?

Mechanical power is normally defined as $P = \mathrm{d}W/\mathrm{d}t$, and work is normally defined as $W = \vec F \cdot \vec x$. Today an undergrad pointed out a confusion he had from Griffiths' E&...
4
votes
1answer
404 views

Neutrino power plant

Suppose there is a material that interacts with 50% of high-energy neutrinos. To what temperature such material will heat up naturally here on Earth? What power can be extracted from it?
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do people with bigger hands/wrists have bigger torque advantages in arm wrestling?

I have arm wrestled people with less strength than me who win simply because they have thicker wrists, or larger hands. It has nary to do with having better technique either, because their wrist size ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

Calculating displacement amplitude of ultrasonic power transducer

I am not a physicist, but my current project drives me to some physics-related computations, hence seeking help. I have some ultrasonic transducers, 5938D-25LBPZT, for which very limited information ...
4
votes
1answer
76 views

Have Sterling Engines Been Used In Outer Space?

I was reading about Stirling Generators having potential applications for power generation in outer space. Have Stirling engines ever been sent into space?
4
votes
1answer
82 views

Passively moving air [closed]

I'm interested in channeling air into an underground condenser to generate water. Which of these approaches would be most appropriate, and is there a better approach I haven't considered? A: A wind-...
4
votes
0answers
746 views

How much power to keep surface of aluminum plate at given temperature? [closed]

I want to heat one side of an aluminum plate enough to hold the other side of that plate $100K$ above ambient. I'm willing to assume that the heated side of the plate is "well" insulated (along with ...
3
votes
11answers
2k views

Can a nuclear reactor meltdown be contained with molten lead?

If lead can absorb or block radiation, would it be possible to pump molten lead into a reactor core which is melting, so that it would eventually cool and contain the radiation? Is there something ...
3
votes
4answers
590 views

Car “oomph”: power or torque?

Two of the most important magnitudes that characterize a car's engine are maximum power and maximum torque. How are those two magnitudes related to the sensation that the car has "oomph" or is "...
3
votes
1answer
969 views

Power dissipation in circuits:Why is high voltage used in power lines?

I know this question has been asked before, but there is one doubt I still cannot clear. Power dissipation is proportional to $I^2R$. Does this not mean that it is also proportional to $V^2/R$? If ...
3
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the relationship and difference between BHP and Torque?

I've recently been looking into performance figures for various auto mobiles, and I see the terms BHP and Torque used quite often, but I can't say I really understand the terms, or how they relate to ...
3
votes
3answers
793 views

Power to suspend a mass in air

How much power is needed to suspend a mass in the air? The four parts below deal with the same problem. I post them all here, should there be some subtle things I didn't see. The textbook problem A ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Harvesting electricity in the air from power lines:

Recently I came across this quote on the internet, about a person who apparently set up devices to extract electricity from the "air", on his own property: I read an article a couple of years ago ...
3
votes
3answers
78 views

Is power still consumed when we switch off the lights?

I was having heated discussion with one of my friends. We were discussing Earth Hour and its role in saving electricity, and creating awareness. He stated that even if you turn off the lights, the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How are the CPU power and temperature caculated/estimated?

From Wikipedia The power consumed by a CPU, is approximately proportional to CPU frequency, and to the square of the CPU voltage: $$ P = C V^2 f $$ (where C is capacitance, f is ...
3
votes
4answers
529 views

Should we forget fusion and focus on geothermal power? [closed]

Firstly I can say that I would love us to come up with a sustainable fusion solution. However with the latest estimates being 2050 at the earliest for an effective fusion solution and the planets ...
3
votes
2answers
483 views

What does Power really mean?

I've been trying to solve a problem for some time. I have been given conflicting information by both literature, colleagues and people on this very forum. It's a very simple question: What is the ...