Scalar quantity which is the magnitude of velocity.

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125
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17answers
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Why does kinetic energy increase quadratically, not linearly, with speed?

As Wikipedia says: [...] the kinetic energy of a non-rotating object of mass $m$ traveling at a speed $v$ is $\frac{1}{2}mv^2$. Why does this not increase linearly with speed? Why does it take ...
51
votes
4answers
13k views

Can a tomato pierce a hole in a steel plate if only the tomato is travelling fast enough?

A tomato is travelling very fast towards a 1 cm thick steel plate. Let's say this happened in a vacuum, so that the air resistance wouldn't rip the tomato apart before it even hit the steel plate. ...
41
votes
7answers
4k views

Is it fair to judge this speedskating race by only 3 thousands of a second?

I'm reading this article: Zbigniew Brodka of Poland won the Olympic men's 1,500 meters speed skating title by just 0.003 seconds at the Adler Arena on Saturday. Brodka clocked one minute, ...
31
votes
3answers
4k views

Speed of sound at temperatures below 0 °C

How can the speed of sound be calculated for temperatures below 0 °C (down to -40 °C)? Does the calculation $v=331\ \frac{m}{s} + 0.6 \frac{m}{s°C} \times T$ still hold (where T's unit is °...
30
votes
9answers
7k views

What is the speed of the fastest moving body in our solar system?

On Wikipedia I saw that the average orbital speed of planet Earth around the Sun is a whopping $29 783\text{ m/s}$, and it made me wonder are there bodies (planets, meteorites, asteroids) that move ...
24
votes
5answers
5k views

Why is there a controversy on whether mass increases with speed?

Some people say that mass increases with speed, some people say that the mass of an object is independent of its speed. I understand how some (though not many) things in physics are a matter of ...
23
votes
9answers
19k views

Can a human size object move so fast that it ceases to be observable?

In many anime, comics, movies, etc, we see a lot of super human beings moving and fighting at such high speeds that a regular human being cannot see that they are fighting or moving pass by. In ...
20
votes
8answers
12k views

Accelerating particles to speeds infinitesimally close to the speed of light?

I'm in a freshmen level physics class now, so I don't know much, but something I heard today intrigued me. My TA was talking about how at the research facility he worked at, they were able to ...
17
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7answers
6k views

Why does the speed of light $c$ have the value it does? [duplicate]

Why does light have the speed it does? why is it not considerably faster or slower than it is? I can't imagine science, being what it is, not pursuing a rational scientific explanation for the speed ...
16
votes
3answers
7k views

How does electricity propagate in a conductor?

On a systems level, I understand that as electrons are pushed into a wire, there is a net field and a net electron velocity. And I've read that the net electron drift is slow. But electricity ...
15
votes
5answers
11k views

How fast would someone have to run to travel vertically up a wall?

I am currently doing a physics project on the effects of so-called 'super-speed'. I was wondering how fast you would have to run to vertically travel up a wall? That is, to negate the force of gravity....
14
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2answers
1k views

Is it possible to travel at precisely the speed of sound?

I've been talking to a friend, and he said that it's impossible to travel at exactly the same speed as the speed of sound is. He argued that it's only possible to break through the sound barrier using ...
13
votes
5answers
15k views

Why and how does negative velocity exist?

Why and how does negative velocity exist? I have read on the internet about negative velocity but I still don't understand how it can even exist since time is positive and so is length. By doing some ...
11
votes
5answers
5k views

Why would a fat skydiver fall first in free fall?

I was having one of those obnoxious conversations with a friend where he was arguing that a fat skydiver would reach the ground faster than a skinny skydiver. To me it seemed as obvious that the world ...
9
votes
4answers
10k views

Is a signal traveling through fiber faster than a signal traveling through copper?

Does the transmission medium affect the speed of a signal? For instance does light traveling through a fiber cable get a bit from A => B faster than copper can transmit a bit the over the same ...
9
votes
1answer
6k views

How does one derive the equation for the speed of sound?

In my acoustics books I see $$c^2 = \frac{\mathrm{d}P}{\mathrm{d}\rho}$$ where $c$ is the speed of sound, $P$ is the pressure and $\rho$ is the density. Where does this equation come from? In my ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a maximum energy for a relativistic particle?

So I was told today that the Standard Model breaks down at really, really high energies. The lecturer mentioned particles such as electrons hypothetically having energies equivalent to that of entire ...
8
votes
6answers
18k views

How fast is Earth moving through the universe?

As the galaxy is moving and the solar system orbiting the galaxy and the Earth orbiting the sun. So how fast is each object moving and what is the fastest we move at? Do we even know how fast the ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Is speed an intensive property?

I remember being taught in elementary physics that while it makes sense to add volumes, masses, or heat, it makes no sense to add temperatures. As I wanted to use that to illustate some other issue, ...
8
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1answer
3k views
7
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8answers
2k views

How to know if a vehicle is moving without any external source of information?

The situation is the following: I'm inside a vehicle (plane or a car, it doesn't matter) and I need to know if the vehicle is moving at a constant speed BUT I cannot perceive any external change like ...
7
votes
6answers
185k views

How to calculate average speed [closed]

I recently encountered a puzzle where a person drove 120 miles at 40mph, then drove back the same 120 miles at 60mph. The average of the speeds is (40mph+60mph)/2 = 50mph, so the total trip time ...
7
votes
7answers
755 views

Shouldn't the Uncertainty Principle be intuitively obvious, at least when talking about the position and momentum of an object?

Please forgive me if I'm wrong, as I have no formal physics training (apart from some in high school and personal reading), but there's something about Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle that strikes ...
7
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1answer
16k views

How fast would someone have to run to run over water?

I was thinking about Flash, the superhero, or the little boy in the Incredibles. There is one Yahoo answer that doesn't answer a lot. Especially, I don't think surface tension would help a lot for a ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

Which derivation of drift velocity is correct?

In the derivation of drift velocity I have seen two variations and want to know which one's correct. $s=ut+\frac{at^2}{2}$ Assume that the drift velocity of any electron in any conductor is : $$\vec{...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Maximum speed of a rocket with a potential of relativistic speeds

Ultimately, the factor limiting the maximum speed of a rocket is: the amount of fuel it carries the speed of ejection of the gases the mass of the rocket the length of the rocket ...
7
votes
2answers
747 views

Riddle about speed

This stems from a riddle I read in a magazine perhaps 20 years ago so I apologise for the imprecise recollection. A dog that can run infinitely fast is placed on an infinitely large flat surface and ...
6
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1answer
663 views

Liquid wave faster than sound in the above gas: possibility implications

I recently heard that tsunamis (meaning "harbour wave") can travel over 800 kilometres per hour (500 mph), not so far from the speed of sound in the air. May it happen, in general, that a wave in a ...
6
votes
2answers
421 views

Speed of sound in gaseous medium

Why does the speed of sound decrease as the density of the medium increases? I know why this happens mathematically, but I want to know what happens at the molecular level that results in higher speed ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Speed of a particle in quantum mechanics: phase velocity vs. group velocity

Given that one usually defines two different velocities for a wave, these being the phase velocity and the group velocity, I was asking their meaning for the associated particle in quantum mechanics. ...
5
votes
2answers
521 views

Is there a limit to frames per second to be captured?

Today we see ~100,000 fps cameras for hyper slo-mo. Is there a physical limit for frames per second for a camera? Speed of light maybe? How?
5
votes
1answer
674 views

How does a particle of light reach the max speed of light? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can a photon have no mass and still travel at the speed of light? First of all I am not a professional physicist. I was curious as to how a particle of light can reach ...
5
votes
3answers
512 views

How fast do I need to go in order to avoid being seen by the Police?

I was driving down the road at roughly the speed of traffic. I saw a police officer parked on the side of the road, and also noticed that a Semi was traveling in the lane right next to him. This got ...
5
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3answers
8k views

Does friction decrease as objects move faster against each other?

I was told that the faster two objects move against each other, the less the friction between them would be… compared to if they were moving slower. So does friction decrease when the body is moving ...
5
votes
3answers
281 views

If an electric car were to drive without having to stop, would the range be greatly affected by the speed at which the vehicle is moving?

Of course aerodynamics factors into this question, and the faster you are moving the more air you have to push out of your way, the more energy you use. But would the difference be only a small ...
5
votes
3answers
659 views

Why does a “speed of sound” exist?

I've recently read that wind cannot be faster than the speed of sound (german source). But why is there a speed of sound? I understand (well, mostly accept to be honest) that the speed of light in ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How fast do electrons move through a conductor?

If I apply $1 \text{ V}$ across a $1 \text{ }\Omega$ resistance, I'd get $1 \text{ A}$ flowing. $1 \text{ A}$ is defined as $1 \frac{\text{C}}{\text{s}}$, and $1 \text{ C}$ is equivalent to $6....
5
votes
2answers
8k views

Calculate speed from accelerometer

I am trying to use my accelerometer on my mobile device (smart watch to be specific) to calculate a persons arm swing speed. The data returned from the accelerometer is in $m/s^2$. Since the ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How to relate speed of sound with relative humidity?

I am exploring the idea of measuring the humidity of a space using sound waves, however I am having trouble finding a mathematical relationship between the speed of sound and the humidity level. $c_{...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does the wheel of a car appear to be moving in opposite direction?

When a car is about to stop, the speed of its wheel reduces. Why do we see or feel that the wheel of the car is moving in the opposite direction? This can also be observed of a fan at home. So why ...
5
votes
2answers
256 views

Can a number of gravitational slingshot stop a planet?

The answers to Where does the extra kinetic energy come from in a gravitational slingshot? state that in a gravitational slingshot the object being accelerated "steal" speed from the planet (or moon). ...
5
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2answers
2k views

How to compute the speed of sound in relativistic hydrodynamic?

In Weinberg: Gravitation and Cosmology chapter 2.10 (Relativistic Hydrodynamics) the speed of sound is derived as $v_s^2 = \left(\frac{\partial p}{\partial \rho}\right)$ and the equation of state ...
5
votes
1answer
264 views

Are we traveling through time at the speed of light? [duplicate]

In the image below the y axis represents time and x represent velocity. Point D represents velocity c, point E represents 1 second per stationary observers second. What this chart is showing is as you ...
5
votes
2answers
543 views

Laws of aerodynamics after breaking the sound barrier

my knowledge of physics is not very extensive, so I hope my question isn't too stupid. I know that when (for instance) a plane breaks trough the sound barrier, the laws of the aerodynamics change. ...
5
votes
3answers
197 views

Are there any natural phenomena on Earth that involve supersonic speeds?

Are there any natural phenomena on Earth that involves supersonic speeds, other than volcanic tephra and meteoroids? Edit: By natural I mean not man made like airplanes, rockets, missiles, bullet, ...
5
votes
0answers
49 views

What is the max frequency of sound in a given medium?

When talking about acoustic waves, medium continuity (pressure, density) is implicit. But can the wavelength of an acoustic wave be as small as intermolecular separation? For example, can ~10 THz ...
5
votes
3answers
535 views

Light wave crossing media and the relationship between speed, wavelength, and frequency

There are many threads on this topic (like this one) but one aspect about the equation $ v = \lambda\nu $ still confuses me. I have read that frequency does not change when light crosses into ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Help me get out of a speeding ticket

I was driving uphill from a complete stop for a distance of .4 miles estimated to take 1 minute in a navigation app. I was pulled over right after cresting the hill. The cop had me on radar going ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does the speed of the propellant limit the speed of a space ship in open space?

Isn't speed a relative thing in space? If so, why would the speed of a propellant matter? Why can't a space ship accelerate infinitely?
4
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4answers
2k views

How does the speed of electrons change around a circuit?

I have been thinking about ways of teaching electronics and I'm wondering if the following is true... For starters, when we talk about voltage as energy per unit charge, is this energy manifest ...