Questions tagged [energy-conservation]

The law of conservation of energy, which states that the amount of energy in a system is constant. For questions about Earth's environment, see the climate-science tag instead.

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64
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6answers
16k views

Is the total energy of the universe zero?

In popular science books and articles, I keep running into the claim that the total energy of the Universe is zero, "because the positive energy of matter is cancelled out by the negative energy of ...
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4answers
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Do virtual particles actually physically exist?

I have heard virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time, most notable being the pairs that pop out beside black holes and while one gets pulled away. But wouldn't this actually violate ...
89
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14answers
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What happens to the energy when waves perfectly cancel each other?

What happens to the energy when waves perfectly cancel each other (destructive interference)? It appears that the energy "disappear" but the law of conservation of energy states that it can't be ...
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5answers
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If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into? [closed]

If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into? When the big bang happened where did it occur? When the big bang happened how did it occur? Where did the energy come from? Energy can not be ...
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5answers
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Conservation law of energy and Big Bang?

Did the law of conservation of energy apply to the earliest moments of the Big Bang? If so, what theoretical physics supports this? I hear that Einstein's theory of relativity disputes the law of ...
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5answers
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Noether Theorem and Energy conservation in classical mechanics

I have a problem deriving the conservation of energy from time translation invariance. The invariance of the Lagrangian under infinitesimal time displacements $t \rightarrow t' = t + \epsilon$ can be ...
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3answers
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Where does the extra kinetic energy of the rocket come from?

Consider a rocket in deep space with no external forces. Using the formula for linear kinetic energy $$\text{KE} = mv^2/2$$ we find that adding $100\ \text{m/s}$ while initially travelling at $1000\ \...
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3answers
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How does light speed up after coming out of a glass slab?

As I learned today in school, my teacher told me that when light enters a glass slab it slows down due to the change in density and it speeds up as it goes out of the glass slab. This causes a lateral ...
26
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3answers
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Energy conservation in General Relativity

I understand that energy conservation is not a rule in general relativity, but I'd like to know under what circumstances it can still be possible. In other words, when is it possible to associate a ...
57
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4answers
31k views

Why can't energy be created or destroyed?

My physics instructor told the class, when lecturing about energy, that it can't be created or destroyed. Why is that? Is there a theory or scientific evidence that proves his statement true or ...
31
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5answers
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Redshifting of Light and the expansion of the universe

So I have learned in class that light can get red-shifted as it travels through space. As I understand it, space itself expands and stretches out the wavelength of the light. This results in the light ...
14
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3answers
13k views

Is the law of conservation of energy still valid?

Is the law of conservation of energy still valid or have there been experiments showing that energy could be created or lost?
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5answers
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Does matter with negative mass exist?

Or does it exist mathematically? Is it really inconsistent with a common-sense, mathematics or known physical laws? As far as I understand, if it exists, it must be far away from the "positive" ...
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2answers
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Lagrangian of an effective potential

If there is a system, described by an Lagrangian $\mathcal{L}$ of the form $$\mathcal{L} = T-V = \frac{m}{2}\left(\dot{r}^2+r^2\dot{\phi}^2\right) + \frac{k}{r},\tag{1}$$ where $T$ is the kinetic ...
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5answers
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Why do many people say that virtual particles do not conserve energy?

I've seen this claim made all over the Internet. It's on Wikipedia. It's in John Baez's FAQ on virtual particles, it's in many popular books. I've even seen it mentioned offhand in academic papers. ...
57
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4answers
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If I'm floating in space and I turn on a flashlight, will I accelerate?

Photons have no mass but they can push things, as evidenced by laser propulsion. Can photons push the source which is emitting them? If yes, will a more intense flashlight accelerate me more? Does ...
21
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3answers
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Is kinetic energy a relative quantity? Will it make inconsistent equations when applying it to the conservation of energy equations? [duplicate]

If the velocity is a relative quantity, will it make inconsistent equations when applying it to the conservation of energy equations? For example: In the train moving at $V$ relative to ground, ...
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6answers
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Why are rockets so big?

I'm curious why rockets are so big in their size. Since both the gravitational potential one need to overcome in order to put thing into orbit, and the chemical energy burned from the fuel, are ...
10
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3answers
3k views

How do photons know they can or can't excite electrons in atoms?

This might be a stupid question, but nonetheless, it has been bothering me. If you take a photon, make it go through some atoms in a solid, liquid or whatever, then you have the chance of this photon ...
22
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4answers
12k views

How does rest mass become energy?

I know that there's a difference between relativistic and rest mass. Relativistic mass is "acquired" when an object is moving at speeds comparable to the speed of light. Rest mass is the inherent mass ...
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4answers
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Where does the extra kinetic energy come from in a gravitational slingshot?

I read in this answer in this site that the KE a free-falling ball acquires is not originated by the attracting body but that energy was actually stored in the ball when it had been lifted to the ...
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3answers
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A problem of missing energy when charging a second capacitor

A capacitor is charged. It is then connected to an identical uncharged capacitor using superconducting wires. Each capacitor has 1/2 the charge as the original, so 1/4 the energy - so we only have 1/2 ...
26
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4answers
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Is energy really conserved?

In high school I was taught energy was conserved. Then I learned that nuclear reactions allow energy to be converted into mass. Then I also heard that apparently energy can spontaneously appear in ...
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3answers
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photons in expanding space: how is energy conserved? [duplicate]

If a photon (wave package) redshifts (stretches) travelling in our expanding universe, is its energy reduced? If so, where does that energy go?
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4answers
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Kinetic energy with respect to different reference frames

I'm having problems understanding the following situation. Suppose two 1-tonne cars are going with the same orientations but opposite senses, each 50 km/h with respect to the road. Then the total ...
20
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3answers
2k views

Redshifted Photon Energy

A photon emitted from a receding source (Doppler redshift) has less energy when detected at an observer's location. Please explain the energy loss from the perspective of energy conservation.
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5answers
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Is the total energy of the universe constant?

If total energy is conserved just transformed and never newly created, is there a sum of all energies that is constant? Why is it probably not that easy?
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3answers
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Is there a valid Lagrangian formulation for all classical systems?

Can one use the Lagrangian formalism for all classical systems, i.e. systems with a set of trajectories $\vec{x}_i(t)$ describing paths? On the wikipedia page of Lagrangian mechanics, there is an ...
21
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4answers
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Energy conservation and interference

I have a problem with energy conservation in case of interfering waves. Imagine two harmonic waves with amplitudes $A$. They both carry energy that is proportional to $A^2$, so the total energy is ...
7
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1answer
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Energy conservation of Virtual Particles - Quantum Fluctuation?

I (as a middle-school student) was wondering how virtual particles even conserve energy of the entire system? I don't mean just the particle's energy, but conservation with respect to the surroundings?...
25
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2answers
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What prevents this magnetic perpetuum mobile from working?

As a child, I imagined this device, which may seem to rotate indefinitely. I have two questions. Is this perpetual motion machine already known? If it is, could you please give some references? What ...
81
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11answers
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What makes running so much less energy-efficient than bicycling?

Most people can ride 10 km on their bike. However, running 10 km is a lot harder to do. Why? According to the law of conservation of energy, bicycling should be more intensive because you have to ...
34
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6answers
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Newton's cradle

Why, when one releases 2 balls in Newton's cradle, two balls on the opposite side bounce out at approximately the same speed as the 1st pair, rather than one ball at higher speed, or 3 balls at lower ...
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3answers
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Why can't I do this to get infinite energy?

I know that I cannot do this because of conservation of energy, so I am looking for an answer as to why this will not work. So by my understanding of Einstein's whole famous $E=mc^2$ thing it is ...
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5answers
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Hubble's law and conservation of energy

If all distances are constantly increasing, as Hubble's law say, then lots of potential energies of form ~$\frac{1}{r}$ changes, so how is the total energy of the Universe conserved with Hubble's ...
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2answers
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How is dark energy consistent with conservation of mass and energy?

I initially thought that dark energy must in some way violate conservation of mass and energy since the component of the energy density of space that comes from dark energy is constant, and space is ...
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1answer
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Why don't virtual particles violate conservation of mass/energy?

If virtual particles sometimes add more mass/energy to a system then was inputed or comes out in the output, how do they not violate conservation of mass/energy.
79
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3answers
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Why do travelling waves continue after amplitude sum = 0?

My professor asked an interesting question at the end of the last class, but I can't figure out the answer. The question is this (recalled from memory): There are two travelling wave pulses moving in ...
46
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3answers
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When water climbs up a piece of paper, where is the energy coming from?

Take a glass of water and piece of toilet paper. If you keep the paper vertical, and touch the surface of the water with the tip of the paper, you can see the water being absorbed and climbing up the ...
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10answers
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Is it possible all matter in the universe emerges from nothing?

If the Universe is flat and the total energy of the universe can be zero (we don't know if it is, but many theorists support the idea, i.e. at BB initial conditions: t = 0, V = 0, E = 0) then is it ...
7
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3answers
8k views

Energy conservation limited by uncertainty principle

The way I learned it from practicing Fourier analysis and signal processing besides quantum mechanics, is that Energy conservation cannot be achieved in short time scales, and that limits energy ...
8
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1answer
719 views

Example where Hamiltonian $H \neq T+V=E$, but $E=T+V$ is conserved

I'm looking for an example of a Hamiltonian $H$, where $H\neq T+V$, but the total energy in the system, $E=T+V$, is still conserved. While I'm at it, I might as well add that I'd be most interested ...
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4answers
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Would a pendulum swing indefinitely in a frictionless vacuum?

I am attempting to settle a friendly bet. Would a pendulum swing indefinitely in a hypothetical vacuum (i.e. no air resistance) having a hypothetical frictionless bearing (i.e. no energy lost due to ...
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3answers
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Why is the Carnot engine the most efficient?

It seems that the only condition used in proving that the Carnot engine is the most efficient is that it is reversible. More specifically, the Carnot engine can be run in reverse as a refrigerator. ...
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3answers
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Conservation of energy and Killing-field

In general relativity we have no general conservation of energy and momentum. But if there exists a Killing-field we can show that this leads to a symmetry in spacetime and so to a conserved quantity. ...
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2answers
6k views

Have red shifted photons lost energy and where did it go? [duplicate]

I think the title says it. Did expansion of the universe steal the energy somehow?
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3answers
7k views

Where does tidal energy come from?

Kind of an odd, random question that popped into my head. Tidal energy - earth's ocean movement, volcanism on some of Jupiter's moons, etc. - obviously comes from the gravitational interaction between ...
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5answers
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Popular depictions of electromagnetic wave: is there an error?

Here are some depictions of electromagnetic wave, similar to the depictions in other places: Isn't there an error? It is logical to presume that the electric field should have maximum when magnetic ...
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10answers
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How to explain independence of momentum and energy conservation in a 2-body collision in elementary terms?

I'm trying to explain to someone learning elementary physics (16 year old) that linear momentum and energy are conserved independently in a 2-body collision. I'm not a professional physicist and haven'...
3
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2answers
328 views

Relating Poyntings theorem to Lenz and Faraday's law?

In system's similar to a motor, where the armature begins to accelerate simultaneously there is induced $-\epsilon$ to reduce the applied current(hence the applied power $P(t)$ is also reduced), or ...