Motion & Mechanics

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Gravitational energy is the movement of an object or mass that is caused by the pull of gravity. This is caused on Earth by the strong attraction of all other masses to be drawn back to Earth's center. An example of gravitational energy is water from a river tumbling over a cliff to form a waterfall.

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  • What Is an Inclined Plane?

    Q: What Is an Inclined Plane?

    A: An inclined plane is, essentially, a ramp. Inclined planes are useful for a wide range of physics experiments, and they can demonstrate basic physics principles about gravity and angular motion.
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  • What Is the Archimedes Principle?

    Q: What Is the Archimedes Principle?

    A: The Archimedes Principle (called the law of buoyancy), states any vessel partially or totally submerged in a fluid has an upward force acting upon it that is equal in magnitude to the weight of the fluid displaced by the vessel. The volume of the displaced fluid also equals the volume of the submerged portion of the vessel.
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  • What Is Water Displacement?

    Q: What Is Water Displacement?

    A: Water displacement is a particular case of fluid displacement, which is simply the principle that any object placed in a fluid causes that fluid to no longer occupy that volume of space. The fluid must go somewhere, however, and so with liquids in containers, this causes their overall height to rise. Gases are also fluids subject to displacement, and they both fill space and are compressible, so an object introduced to a sealed container full of a gas simply decreases the volume of the gas and increases its pressure.
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  • What Are Compound Machines?

    Q: What Are Compound Machines?

    A: A compound machine is a machine composed of two or more simple machines. Common examples are bicycles, can openers and wheelbarrows. Simple machines change the magnitude or direction of a force without any motor.
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  • What Is Kinetic Friction?

    Q: What Is Kinetic Friction?

    A: Kinetic friction refers to the frictional force of a moving object. If a force is being applied on a stationary object, friction is considered a static force until movement occurs.
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  • How Much Force Can a Person Exert?

    Q: How Much Force Can a Person Exert?

    A: The amount of force a person can exert depends on many variables, including that person's mass, the acceleration being used to exert the force, and the friction, gravity and other forces involved. According to Live Science, researchers found that boxers' punches can generate up to 5,000 newtons of force.
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  • What Are Complex Machines?

    Q: What Are Complex Machines?

    A: A complex machine is a combination of two or more simple machines. A simple machine is one of the six basic devices that make work easier by changing the degree or direction of a force.
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  • How Do I Define "polarity of Water?"

    Q: How Do I Define "polarity of Water?"

    A: The polarity of water is the net result of the overall negative charge of the oxygen atom and the overall positive charges of the two hydrogen atoms. The outcome is a difference in charge, or polarity, from one end of the molecule to the other.
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  • How Do You Measure the Water Flow Through a Pipe?

    Q: How Do You Measure the Water Flow Through a Pipe?

    A: The water flow though a pipe is measured by using a mechanical flow meter. These work through positive displacement, where the volume of water flowing though in a given amount of time is measured. Domestic areas typically use a piston/rotary positive displacement meters or a nutating disk meter, while commercial areas use turbine flow meters.
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  • What Is the Difference Between Hydraulics and Pneumatics?

    Q: What Is the Difference Between Hydraulics and Pneumatics?

    A: The difference between hydraulics and pneumatics is the medium used in each system to perform work. Hydraulics employ fluids, such as oils, while pneumatics utilize compressed gases, such as carbon dioxide or atmospheric air.
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  • How Do Levers Work?

    Q: How Do Levers Work?

    A: HowStuffWorks explains that levers work by reducing the force needed to move weights. They achieve this by increasing the distance through which the required force acts. For instance, a 1-kilogram force that acts through a distance of 3 meters is capable of moving a 3-kilogram weight in 1 meter, if friction is ignored.
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  • Why Do Humans Float in Water?

    Q: Why Do Humans Float in Water?

    A: Any body in water floats or sinks depending on the buoyant forces that push it up and the gravity that pulls it down. If the body is heavier than the water it displaces, it sinks. If the water the body displaces is heavier, then the body floats.
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  • What Was Marconi Guglielmo Famous For?

    Q: What Was Marconi Guglielmo Famous For?

    A: Italian born Guglielmo Marconi was most famous for inventing and transmitting the first wireless signals across the Atlantic Ocean. According to the Nobel Prize Organization, in 1900, Marconi received his famous patent number 7777 for tuned or syntonic telegraphy.
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  • What Is an Example of the Application of Archimedes' Principle in Daily Life?

    Q: What Is an Example of the Application of Archimedes' Principle in Daily Life?

    A: Every time a person takes a bath, Archimedes' principle is observed as the tub is filled to a certain level and, once the bather enters the water, it rises based on the volume of water weight that the person's body displaces. Adding chicken to a pot of boiling water yields the same results but on a smaller scale.
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  • What Is the Conclusion of Projectile Motion?

    Q: What Is the Conclusion of Projectile Motion?

    A: Projectile motion is concluded when a projectile stops moving. Assuming nothing gets in the way, that conclusion is reached when the projectile comes to rest on the ground.
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  • How Does Mass Affect Speed?

    Q: How Does Mass Affect Speed?

    A: Mass does not affect speed directly, but it does affect how fast an object can change its speed by accelerating or decelerating. Objects with larger masses require more time for acceleration or deceleration compared to lighter objects.
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  • What Is Weightlessness?

    Q: What Is Weightlessness?

    A: Weightlessness, or microgravity, occurs when an object is in free fall, explains the U.S. National Aeronautic and Space Association. Gravity pulls the object in free fall at a faster rate due to the equivalence of the force of gravity to acceleration.
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  • What Is Acceleration?

    Q: What Is Acceleration?

    A: Acceleration is any change in the speed or the direction of movement. It does not matter, from a scientific point of view, if only the direction changes but not the speed, as with a planet in a circular orbit, or if the object is reducing in speed but keeping the same direction. Acceleration, like velocity, is a vector quantity, so it can only occur in one direction.
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  • What Are Types of Potential Energy?

    Q: What Are Types of Potential Energy?

    A: Potential energy is the stored energy of an object that has the potential to change to a different form of energy to do work. The types of potential energy are gravitational, elastic, chemical, electric and nuclear.
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  • What Is a Non-Newtonian Fluid?

    Q: What Is a Non-Newtonian Fluid?

    A: Non-Newtonian fluids are those that behave differently than Newtonian fluids do with regard to viscosity. Typically, stress causes non-Newtonian fluids to alter their flow patterns or viscosity. The stress can cause the viscosity to increase or decrease, depending on the particular non-Newtonian fluid.
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  • How Did Isaac Newton Die?

    Q: How Did Isaac Newton Die?

    A: Newton died in his sleep in London, England, on March 31, 1727, at the age 85. On the previous day, after suffering severe pain in his abdomen, Newton blacked out and never regained consciousness.
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