Questions tagged [newtonian-mechanics]

Newtonian mechanics covers the discussion of the movement of classical bodies under the influence of forces by making use of Newton’s three laws. For more general concepts, use [classical-mechanics]. For Newton’s description of gravity, use [newtonian-gravity].

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Is 13 really the answer for the “Devil's problem” in physics (a rolling tube with a rod)? [closed]

Recently I chewed the fat with a physics student and got intrigued by him mentioning "the Devil's problem," which he described as a simply worded mechanics problem that is extremely ...
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Why does a large train cause the ground to shake?

I work in a 4 story building that is approx. 150 feet away from a set of train tracks. When a large (40+ car) freight train goes by, the shaking in the building is perceptible. As I've watched the ...
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Jumping into water

Two questions: Assuming you dive head first or fall straight with your legs first, what is the maximal height you can jump into water from and not get hurt? In other words, an H meter fall into water ...
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Recommendations for good Newtonian mechanics and kinematics books

What are some good books for learning the concepts of Kinematics, Newton laws, 2D Motion of Object etc.?
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Why is it easier to handle a cup upside down on the finger tip?

If I try to handle a tumbler or cup on my fingertip (as shown in fig), it is quite hard to do so (and the cup falls most often). And when I did the same experiment but this time the cup is upside ...
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Is it possible to conserve the total kinetic energy of a system, but not its momentum?

It is possible to conserve momentum without conserving kinetic energy, as in inelastic collisions. Is it possible to conserve the total kinetic energy of a system, but not its momentum? How? To ...
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Why are arched bridges stronger than flat bridges?

To keep the question brief: in bridge design, why is the arch structure favoured compared to a simple flat one? In other words, how does the curved platform alter the force decomposition of the load ...
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Stretch length of horizontal and vertical springs

If the spring in Figure A is stretched a distance d, how far will the spring in Figure B stretch? The spring constants are the same. The answer is "by half". I don't get it, to me it's the same.
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Why do objects with big size break easily?

Why do objects with big size break easily? For example: if I drop a chalk of length $L$ from height $h$ then there is a greater probability that it might break, when compared it to a chalk of length $\...
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Why don't spinning tops fall over?

One topic which was covered in university, but which I never understood, is how a spinning top "magically" resists the force of gravity. The conservation of energy explanations make sense, but I don't ...
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How do grandfather clocks keep going?

How do grandfather clocks keep going? The pendulum is what makes the clock go. However, the pendulum will slow down due to friction. What energy source keeps the pendulum from eventually stopping?
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Will a bathtub full of water weigh more if I add something that floats in the water?

Let's say I have a bucket or something bigger, like a bathtub full of water. I weigh that bath and get some value, $x$. Then I add a small boat made of wood to that bathtub that doesn't touch the ...
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Why is acceleration expressed as m/s/s?

I'm a philosophy student (I, regrettably, don't know calculus or much physics). Last year I spent some time learning how work, power, speed, velocity, energy, force, and acceleration relate. But I was ...
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Why is there a $\frac 1 2$ in $\frac 1 2 mv^2$?

For elastic collisions of n particles, we know that momentum in the three orthogonal directions are independently conserved:$$ \frac{d}{dt}\sum\limits_i^n m_iv_{ij} =0,\quad j=1,2,3$$ From this, it ...
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Why do my experimental data for Hooke’s law not match the expected data?

As we all know, force applied to a spring is directly proportional to the extension of spring as shown below: However, my experimental results for a simple spring from a school laboratory don't match ...
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How does a mobile phone vibrate without any external force?

How does a mobile phone vibrate without any external force? By Newton's law, any body can't move without any external force
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How is the work done to push a planet over 1m with 1N the same as pushing a feather over 1m with 1N? [duplicate]

Assume there are no other forces acting and the rocket+fuel described do not weigh anything. Also, by rocket I mean engine/thruster, not space shuttle. Suppose you have a planet, say of mass 1,000,...
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How was the formula for kinetic energy found, and who found it?

My questions mostly concern the history of physics. Who found the formula for kinetic energy $E_k =\frac{1}{2}mv^{2}$ and how was this formula actually discovered? I've recently watched Leonard ...
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Are planets actually moving in elliptical orbits around the Sun or do they move in circular orbits around their center of mass?

In every derivation of Kepler's Laws that I have seen, we assume that the sun is stationary. However, in other places I have read that celestial bodies move about their barycentre (center of mass). So ...
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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 ...
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When should you jump off a falling ladder?

If you stand on the top of a falling ladder you will hit the ground at a higher speed (and therefore presumedly sustain more injury) if you hold on to the ladder than if you jump off it. This was ...
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Is gecko-like friction Coulombic? What is the highest known Coulombic $\mu_s$ for any combination of surfaces?

Materials with large coefficients of static friction would be cool and useful. Rubber on rough surfaces typically has $\mu_s\sim1-2$. When people talk about examples with very high friction, often ...
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Can a car steer on a frictionless surface?

Do the front tires of a car act like gyroscopes, such that a car could steer on a frictionless surface?
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Why does work depend on distance?

So the formula for work is$$ \left[\text{work}\right] ~=~ \left[\text{force}\right] \, \times \, \left[\text{distance}\right] \,. $$ I'm trying to get an understanding of how this represents energy. ...
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What's the difference between centre of mass & centre of gravity for massive bodies?

My book says: For most of the small objects, both are same. But for mammoth ones, they are really different ones. And in a gravity-less environment, COG is absent; COM still exists. Ok, what's the ...
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Build a ring around Earth, then remove the supports

What would happen if we decided to build a giant ring that managed to wrap around the whole world, end to end that was supported with pillars all along the ring and then the supports all suddenly ...
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What would put a harddisk drive (HDD) under 350G's of force?

I always see the label and it says 350G's withstandable. What would put this over 350G's? Is it even possible to hit 350Gs of force to a hard drive?
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How would I move if I grew by a factor of 3 in each physical dimension?

Suppose, for the sake of this thought experiment, I am structurally identical to an average human, with the only difference being that my body is scaled in all directions by factor of 3. This would ...
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Why doesn't a spinning object in the air fall?

Let's say I have a ball attached to a string and I'm spinning it above my head. If it's going fast enough, it doesn't fall. I know there's centripetal acceleration that's causing the ball to stay in a ...
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How is it possible for the same force to do different amounts of work in two different inertial frames?

Consider an object which has been given a speed $v$ on a rough horizontal surface. As time passes, the object covers a distance $l$ until it stops because of friction. Now, Initial kinetic energy = $\...
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Physical meaning of the angular momentum

Still reading Classical Mechanics by Goldstein, I'm struggling on a very basic notion: angular momentum. I physically understand it as the momentum of an object rotating around something given a ...
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What force enables us to walk? Friction or normal reaction?

I know that this question has been asked here before, but I am a little bit confused with all the answers. So when we move, we apply force on the ground in the backward direction. So, is the ground ...
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Is it possible to shoot bullets in space or would the recoil of the gun be too strong?

I've read a few articles that say that astronauts have already brought guns in space and that shooting bullets in space is possible. But won't the recoil of the gun be too strong? Law of ...
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Why do we assume weight acts through the center of mass?

The weight of a body acts through the center of mass of the body. If every particle of the body is attracted by earth, then why do we assume that the weight acts through the center of mass? I know ...
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Could I break the sound barrier using circular motion? (And potentially create a sonic boom?)

Ok, Lets say I get out my household vaccum cleaner, the typical RPM for a dyson vaccum cleaner reachers 104K RPM, Or 1.733K RPS. In theory, this disc would be travelling with a time period of 0....
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Why is Newton's first law necessary?

Newton's second law says $F=ma$. Now if we put $F=0$ we get $a=0$ which is Newton's first law. So why do we need Newton's first law ? Before asking I did some searching and I got this: Newtons first ...
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Why does a simple pendulum or a spring-mass system show simple harmonic motion only for small amplitudes?

I've been taught that in a simple pendulum, for small $x$, $\sin x \approx x$. We then derive the formula for the time period of the pendulum. But I still don't understand the Physics behind it. Also, ...
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What's the difference between running up a hill and running up an inclined treadmill?

Clearly there will be differences like air resistance; I'm not interested in that. It seems like you're working against gravity when you're actually running in a way that you're not if you're on a ...
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What situations in classical physics are non-deterministic?

In Sean Carroll's book "The Big Picture," he states (chapter 4, page 35): Classical mechanics, the system of equations studied by Newton and Laplace, isn't perfectly deterministic. There are ...
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What's wrong with this argument that Newton's second law implies all potentials are quadratic?

Newton's second law states: $$F(\vec{x})=m\vec{\ddot{x}}$$ For $\vec{x}$ scaled by some arbitrary constant $s$, we obtain: $$F(s\vec{x})=ms\vec{\ddot{x}} \Longleftrightarrow \frac{F(s\vec{x})}{s}=m\...
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Why is the potential energy of a spring the same when it is compressed and stretched?

I'm giving a high school lecture and I want to introduce the potential energy of a spring. My students have not learned the Hooke's Law and the notion of integral is too advanced. I'm really trying to ...
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Why does shooting a handgun accelerate a bullet to deadly speed without injuring the gun user's hand?

Momentum is defined by the product of mass and velocity. Now a projectile out of a gun has to have high velocity to penetrate a human body, as its mass isn't significant. But to reach this velocity, ...
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What makes a wheel spin?

I don't fully grasp what makes a wheel much easier to move than to push a solid block. The pressure at the point of contact between a wheel and the ground must be pretty enormous compared to the ...
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Which specific law of physics is broken by the “double jump”? [closed]

So, there's a cliche in computer gaming known as a "double jump". This can be described as: A character jumps from a solid surface, and then is able to extend their jump by carrying out the jump ...
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What is the difference between weight and mass?

What is the difference between the weight of an object and the mass of an object?
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What does it mean that physics no longer uses mechanical models to describe phenomena?

I've just started reading Sommerfeld's Lecture on Mechanics, with no background in physics (only in math). Can you explain to me what the author means with the bold sentence? Mechanics is the ...
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Why are orbits elliptical? [duplicate]

Almost all of the orbits of planets and other celestial bodies are elliptical, not circular. Is this due to gravitational pull by other nearby massive bodies? If this was the case a two body system ...
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What kind of force can a rock exert which a motor cannot?

Imagine a dam with two doors. We have two cases: First case: there is a rock heavy enough to stop the doors from opening. Second case: there are are two motors or kind of machines (not sure if it ...
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What would happen if $F=m\dot{a}$?

What would happen if instead of $F=m*d^2x/dt^2$, we had $F=m*d^3x/dt^3$ or higher? Intuitively, I have always seen a justification for $\sim 1/r^2$ forces as the "forces being divided equally over ...
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What causes our Sun to oscillate around its mean Galactic orbit?

According to this answer on Astronomy.SE, The Sun executes oscillations around its mean orbit in the Galaxy, periodically crossing the Galactic plane. I borrowed this illustration (not to scale!) ...