Classical Mechanics

Here’s our ragtag collection of thoughts on classical mechanics. This section currently dominates the blog, since mechanics seems the encompass many of the ‘traditional’ physics problems. Almost every problem here is framed in terms of Newton’s laws, though Lagrangian mechanics makes an appearance here and there.

A Projectile Problem – at what angle should you launch a projectile so it’s always moving away from you? Find out the answer and its origin here.

Brachistochrone – what path should a particle take such that it moves between two points in the least time under the influence of gravity?

Crossed B and g Fields – brush up on your Greek as we bamboozle a particle by subjecting it to both magnetic and gravitational forces.

Damped Motion in a B Field – ever irresponsibly fired a charged particle into something magnetised and gooey? Discover the repercussions here.

Falling through Earth – how long would it take to travel from Spain to New Zealand travelling straight through the planet?

Inverse Square Attraction – how long do two objects take to meet under gravitation?

Kamehameha! – how much energy does it take to destroy a planet?

Newton’s Cradle Car – Alan creates an exam question on wheels with a curious way of moving. An analysis for the terminally bored and bedridden follows here.

Optimal Launch Angle – 45 degrees is old news.

Orbits – Introduction – a quick primer on orbital mechanics.

Orbits – Hohmann Transfer – thinking of flying the nest? Find the most expensive orbit rocket fuel can buy here.

Parabolic Ramp – still not convinced Lagrange trumps Newton? See the evidence here.

Pi and Bouncing Balls – what does \pi have to do with the elastic collisions? Click here to discover a surprising and beautiful result.

Puzzle #7 – Resistive Forces – an exercise in use of the chain rule in Newton’s second law.

Puzzle #9 – Platformulae – are you a platformer at heart? Ponder this calculus exercise and check your answer here.

Rocket Equations – some unabashed exam-style questions based around the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation.


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