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For practical purposes, reference frames that do not accelerate with respect to distant stars an extremely distant point are regarded as good approximations to inertial frames. Non-inertial reference frames accelerate in relation to an existing inertial frame. They form the basis for Einstein's relativity. Due to the relative motion, particles in the non-inertial frame appear to move in ways not explained by forces from existing fields in the reference frame. Hence, it appears that there are other forces that enter the equations of motion solely as a result of the relative acceleration.

These forces are referred to as fictitious forces , inertia forces, or pseudo-forces. Consider two reference frames S and S'. For observers in each of the reference frames an event has space-time coordinates of x , y , z , t in frame S and x' , y' , z' , t' in frame S'. This set of formulas defines a group transformation known as the Galilean transformation informally, the Galilean transform.

The limiting case applies when the velocity u is very small compared to c , the speed of light. For some problems, it is convenient to use rotating coordinates reference frames. Thereby one can either keep a mapping to a convenient inertial frame, or introduce additionally a fictitious centrifugal force and Coriolis force. A force in physics is any action which causes an object's velocity to change; that is, to accelerate.

A force originates from within a field , such as an electro-static field caused by static electrical charges , electro-magnetic field caused by moving charges , or gravitational field caused by mass , among others. Newton was the first to mathematically express the relationship between force and momentum. Some physicists interpret Newton's second law of motion as a definition of force and mass, while others consider it a fundamental postulate, a law of nature. The quantity m v is called the canonical momentum.

The net force on a particle is thus equal to the rate of change of the momentum of the particle with time. So long as the force acting on a particle is known, Newton's second law is sufficient to describe the motion of a particle. Once independent relations for each force acting on a particle are available, they can be substituted into Newton's second law to obtain an ordinary differential equation , which is called the equation of motion.

As an example, assume that friction is the only force acting on the particle, and that it may be modeled as a function of the velocity of the particle, for example:. Then the equation of motion is. This means that the velocity of this particle decays exponentially to zero as time progresses.

In this case, an equivalent viewpoint is that the kinetic energy of the particle is absorbed by friction which converts it to heat energy in accordance with the conservation of energy , and the particle is slowing down. This expression can be further integrated to obtain the position r of the particle as a function of time.

Important forces include the gravitational force and the Lorentz force for electromagnetism. Illustrations of the weak form of Newton's third law are often found for magnetic forces. More generally, if the force varies as a function of position as the particle moves from r 1 to r 2 along a path C , the work done on the particle is given by the line integral. If the work done in moving the particle from r 1 to r 2 is the same no matter what path is taken, the force is said to be conservative.

Gravity is a conservative force, as is the force due to an idealized spring , as given by Hooke's law. The force due to friction is non-conservative. The kinetic energy E k of a particle of mass m travelling at speed v is given by. For extended objects composed of many particles, the kinetic energy of the composite body is the sum of the kinetic energies of the particles.

The work—energy theorem states that for a particle of constant mass m , the total work W done on the particle as it moves from position r 1 to r 2 is equal to the change in kinetic energy E k of the particle:. Conservative forces can be expressed as the gradient of a scalar function, known as the potential energy and denoted E p :.

If all the forces acting on a particle are conservative, and E p is the total potential energy which is defined as a work of involved forces to rearrange mutual positions of bodies , obtained by summing the potential energies corresponding to each force. This result is known as conservation of energy and states that the total energy ,. It is often useful, because many commonly encountered forces are conservative. Classical mechanics also describes the more complex motions of extended non-pointlike objects.

Euler's laws provide extensions to Newton's laws in this area. The concepts of angular momentum rely on the same calculus used to describe one-dimensional motion. The rocket equation extends the notion of rate of change of an object's momentum to include the effects of an object "losing mass". There are two important alternative formulations of classical mechanics: Lagrangian mechanics and Hamiltonian mechanics.

These, and other modern formulations, usually bypass the concept of "force", instead referring to other physical quantities, such as energy, speed and momentum, for describing mechanical systems in generalized coordinates. The expressions given above for momentum and kinetic energy are only valid when there is no significant electromagnetic contribution. In electromagnetism, Newton's second law for current-carrying wires breaks down unless one includes the electromagnetic field contribution to the momentum of the system as expressed by the Poynting vector divided by c 2 , where c is the speed of light in free space.

Many branches of classical mechanics are simplifications or approximations of more accurate forms; two of the most accurate being general relativity and relativistic statistical mechanics. Geometric optics is an approximation to the quantum theory of light , and does not have a superior "classical" form.

Classical Mechanics

When both quantum mechanics and classical mechanics cannot apply, such as at the quantum level with many degrees of freedom, quantum field theory QFT is of use. QFT deals with small distances and large speeds with many degrees of freedom as well as the possibility of any change in the number of particles throughout the interaction. When treating large degrees of freedom at the macroscopic level, statistical mechanics becomes useful. Statistical mechanics describes the behavior of large but countable numbers of particles and their interactions as a whole at the macroscopic level.

Statistical mechanics is mainly used in thermodynamics for systems that lie outside the bounds of the assumptions of classical thermodynamics. In the case of high velocity objects approaching the speed of light, classical mechanics is enhanced by special relativity. In case that objects become extremely heavy i. In that case, General relativity GR becomes applicable.

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However, until now there is no theory of Quantum gravity unifying GR and QFT in the sense that it could be used when objects become extremely small and heavy. For example, the relativistic cyclotron frequency of a cyclotron , gyrotron , or high voltage magnetron is given by. The ray approximation of classical mechanics breaks down when the de Broglie wavelength is not much smaller than other dimensions of the system. For non-relativistic particles, this wavelength is. Again, this happens with electrons before it happens with heavier particles.

With a larger vacuum chamber , it would seem relatively easy to increase the angular resolution from around a radian to a milliradian and see quantum diffraction from the periodic patterns of integrated circuit computer memory.

Classical mechanics

More practical examples of the failure of classical mechanics on an engineering scale are conduction by quantum tunneling in tunnel diodes and very narrow transistor gates in integrated circuits. Classical mechanics is the same extreme high frequency approximation as geometric optics. It is more often accurate because it describes particles and bodies with rest mass. These have more momentum and therefore shorter De Broglie wavelengths than massless particles, such as light, with the same kinetic energies.

Geometric optics is an approximation to the quantum theory of light , and does not have a superior "classical" form. When both quantum mechanics and classical mechanics cannot apply, such as at the quantum level with many degrees of freedom, quantum field theory QFT is of use. QFT deals with small distances and large speeds with many degrees of freedom as well as the possibility of any change in the number of particles throughout the interaction. When treating large degrees of freedom at the macroscopic level, statistical mechanics becomes useful.

Statistical mechanics describes the behavior of large but countable numbers of particles and their interactions as a whole at the macroscopic level. Statistical mechanics is mainly used in thermodynamics for systems that lie outside the bounds of the assumptions of classical thermodynamics. In the case of high velocity objects approaching the speed of light, classical mechanics is enhanced by special relativity.

In case that objects become extremely heavy i. In that case, General relativity GR becomes applicable. However, until now there is no theory of Quantum gravity unifying GR and QFT in the sense that it could be used when objects become extremely small and heavy. For example, the relativistic cyclotron frequency of a cyclotron , gyrotron , or high voltage magnetron is given by. The ray approximation of classical mechanics breaks down when the de Broglie wavelength is not much smaller than other dimensions of the system.

For non-relativistic particles, this wavelength is. Again, this happens with electrons before it happens with heavier particles. With a larger vacuum chamber , it would seem relatively easy to increase the angular resolution from around a radian to a milliradian and see quantum diffraction from the periodic patterns of integrated circuit computer memory.

More practical examples of the failure of classical mechanics on an engineering scale are conduction by quantum tunneling in tunnel diodes and very narrow transistor gates in integrated circuits. Classical mechanics is the same extreme high frequency approximation as geometric optics. It is more often accurate because it describes particles and bodies with rest mass.

These have more momentum and therefore shorter De Broglie wavelengths than massless particles, such as light, with the same kinetic energies. The study of the motion of bodies is an ancient one, making classical mechanics one of the oldest and largest subjects in science , engineering and technology ,.

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Some Greek philosophers of antiquity, among them Aristotle , founder of Aristotelian physics , may have been the first to maintain the idea that "everything happens for a reason" and that theoretical principles can assist in the understanding of nature. While to a modern reader, many of these preserved ideas come forth as eminently reasonable, there is a conspicuous lack of both mathematical theory and controlled experiment , as we know it.

These later became decisive factors in forming modern science, and their early application came to be known as classical mechanics. In his Elementa super demonstrationem ponderum , medieval mathematician Jordanus de Nemore introduced the concept of "positional gravity " and the use of component forces. The first published causal explanation of the motions of planets was Johannes Kepler's Astronomia nova , published in He concluded, based on Tycho Brahe 's observations on the orbit of Mars , that the planet's orbits were ellipses.

This break with ancient thought was happening around the same time that Galileo was proposing abstract mathematical laws for the motion of objects. He may or may not have performed the famous experiment of dropping two cannonballs of different weights from the tower of Pisa , showing that they both hit the ground at the same time.

The reality of that particular experiment is disputed, but he did carry out quantitative experiments by rolling balls on an inclined plane. His theory of accelerated motion was derived from the results of such experiments and forms a cornerstone of classical mechanics.

Newton founded his principles of natural philosophy on three proposed laws of motion : the law of inertia , his second law of acceleration mentioned above , and the law of action and reaction ; and hence laid the foundations for classical mechanics. Here they are distinguished from earlier attempts at explaining similar phenomena, which were either incomplete, incorrect, or given little accurate mathematical expression.

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Newton also enunciated the principles of conservation of momentum and angular momentum. In mechanics, Newton was also the first to provide the first correct scientific and mathematical formulation of gravity in Newton's law of universal gravitation. The combination of Newton's laws of motion and gravitation provide the fullest and most accurate description of classical mechanics.

He demonstrated that these laws apply to everyday objects as well as to celestial objects. In particular, he obtained a theoretical explanation of Kepler's laws of motion of the planets. Newton had previously invented the calculus , of mathematics, and used it to perform the mathematical calculations. For acceptability, his book, the Principia , was formulated entirely in terms of the long-established geometric methods, which were soon eclipsed by his calculus.

However, it was Leibniz who developed the notation of the derivative and integral preferred [4] today. Newton, and most of his contemporaries, with the notable exception of Huygens , worked on the assumption that classical mechanics would be able to explain all phenomena, including light , in the form of geometric optics. Even when discovering the so-called Newton's rings a wave interference phenomenon he maintained his own corpuscular theory of light. After Newton, classical mechanics became a principal field of study in mathematics as well as physics.

Several re-formulations progressively allowed finding solutions to a far greater number of problems.


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The first notable re-formulation was in by Joseph Louis Lagrange. Lagrangian mechanics was in turn re-formulated in by William Rowan Hamilton. Some difficulties were discovered in the late 19th century that could only be resolved by more modern physics. Some of these difficulties related to compatibility with electromagnetic theory , and the famous Michelson—Morley experiment. The resolution of these problems led to the special theory of relativity , often still considered a part of classical mechanics. A second set of difficulties were related to thermodynamics. When combined with thermodynamics , classical mechanics leads to the Gibbs paradox of classical statistical mechanics , in which entropy is not a well-defined quantity.

Black-body radiation was not explained without the introduction of quanta. As experiments reached the atomic level, classical mechanics failed to explain, even approximately, such basic things as the energy levels and sizes of atoms and the photo-electric effect. The effort at resolving these problems led to the development of quantum mechanics.

Since the end of the 20th century, classical mechanics in physics has no longer been an independent theory. Instead, classical mechanics is now considered an approximate theory to the more general quantum mechanics. Emphasis has shifted to understanding the fundamental forces of nature as in the Standard model and its more modern extensions into a unified theory of everything.

Also, it has been extended into the complex domain where complex classical mechanics exhibits behaviors very similar to quantum mechanics. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 5 September Second law of motion. History Timeline. Newton's laws of motion. Analytical mechanics Lagrangian mechanics Hamiltonian mechanics Routhian mechanics Hamilton—Jacobi equation Appell's equation of motion Udwadia—Kalaba equation Koopman—von Neumann mechanics.

Core topics. Circular motion Rotating reference frame Centripetal force Centrifugal force reactive Coriolis force Pendulum Tangential speed Rotational speed. Ter Haar. New Search. Holdings Request Intercampus Borrowing. Ferrareses, D. Relativistic mechanics; special relativity and classical particle dynamics [by] R. Arczewski and J. Pietrucha ; translation editor C. Salam and Mark L. Enns and George C. Kogan ; translated and adapted from the Russian by David J. Sookne and Robert A. Marsden, Tudor S. Middleton, Peter R. Mitropolsky and A.