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  1. #1 Laser cooling wiki article integrity 
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_cooling

    I was reading through this article and found contradictions to things I learned here and in school.

    "The popular idea that one can heat up and vaporize objects with a laser is not exactly true when we are looking at individual atoms. If we have an atom that is practically motionless (a "cold" atom), and control the frequency of the laser we shine at it, we find that most frequencies just pass by the atom it is invisible at those frequencies. There are only a few points on our frequency control dial that have any effect on that atom. At those frequencies, the photon slams into the atom, the atom starts drifting away from the laser, and later the atom releases the photon. If it happens to shoot the photon towards the laser, it makes the atom drift away from the laser twice as fast. If it happens to shoot the photon directly away from the laser, then the atom stops and becomes motionless again. But usually the photon speeds away in some other direction, giving the atom at least some sideways thrust."

    This is under 'Detailed explanation'. First off, I learned that light cannot just pass by an atom, that it must be absorbed by it regardless if in the end it is transparent to the light and re-emits it. More importantly, this guy claims that, "If it happens to shoot the photon towards the laser, it makes the atom drift away from the laser twice as fast." Isn't this a violation of the laws of thermodynamics, particularly since this guy is basing the heat of matter off of pure instantaneous kinetic motion? Are there any other questionable statements in this article?


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  3. #2 Re: Laser cooling wiki article integrity 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_cooling

    I was reading through this article and found contradictions to things I learned here and in school.

    "The popular idea that one can heat up and vaporize objects with a laser is not exactly true when we are looking at individual atoms. If we have an atom that is practically motionless (a "cold" atom), and control the frequency of the laser we shine at it, we find that most frequencies just pass by the atom it is invisible at those frequencies. There are only a few points on our frequency control dial that have any effect on that atom. At those frequencies, the photon slams into the atom, the atom starts drifting away from the laser, and later the atom releases the photon. If it happens to shoot the photon towards the laser, it makes the atom drift away from the laser twice as fast. If it happens to shoot the photon directly away from the laser, then the atom stops and becomes motionless again. But usually the photon speeds away in some other direction, giving the atom at least some sideways thrust."

    This is under 'Detailed explanation'. First off, I learned that light cannot just pass by an atom, that it must be absorbed by it regardless if in the end it is transparent to the light and re-emits it. More importantly, this guy claims that, "If it happens to shoot the photon towards the laser, it makes the atom drift away from the laser twice as fast." Isn't this a violation of the laws of thermodynamics, particularly since this guy is basing the heat of matter off of pure instantaneous kinetic motion? Are there any other questionable statements in this article?
    No obvious problems with the article jump out. Basically they are describing ordinary conservation of momentum, and the fact that for a photon to be absorbed the energy must match a gap in the energy spectrum of electrons in the atom.


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    But this, "If it happens to shoot the photon towards the laser, it makes the atom drift away from the laser twice as fast." A photon is energy, right? So how could you emit energy, yet gain kinetic force? And besides this, I was taught in school that light emission is not equivalent to throwing a baseball or ejecting rocket fuel at high velocities. In a number of arguments on this forum, people have cited this as a reason as to why detonating antimatter as a means of propulsion would not work, since you would only be emitting light which would not be able to push on your spaceship.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    But this, "If it happens to shoot the photon towards the laser, it makes the atom drift away from the laser twice as fast." A photon is energy, right? So how could you emit energy, yet gain kinetic force? And besides this, I was taught in school that light emission is not equivalent to throwing a baseball or ejecting rocket fuel at high velocities. In a number of arguments on this forum, people have cited this as a reason as to why detonating antimatter as a means of propulsion would not work, since you would only be emitting light which would not be able to push on your spaceship.
    I don't know what you were taught in school. It might have been wrong.

    A photon carries momentum. It also carries energy.

    There is no such thing as kinetic force.

    When the photon is emitted it carries momentum. The atom must move in the opposite direction to conserve momentum.

    Energy is also conserved, but that part is easy. It is not kinetic energy that is conserved, but total energy.

    Ejecting a photon is precisely equivalent to throwing a baseball or ejecting rocket fuel at high velocities. It is all conservation of momentum. If your teacher told you differently, then your teacher did not know what he was talking about. Or perhaps, what you heard is not what he said.
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    .......so, if I fired an amount of light from a laser out the back of my spaceship, say 1kg worth of light (I know, that's allot), I would be accelerated forward at 1Kg multiplied by 300,000,000m/s? 300,000,000 Newtons?

    I was told exactly that...that firing a laser would not be able to act as thrust.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    .......so, if I fired an amount of light from a laser out the back of my spaceship, say 1kg worth of light (I know, that's allot), I would be accelerated forward at 1Kg multiplied by 300,000,000m/s? 300,000,000 Newtons?

    I was told exactly that...that firing a laser would not be able to act as thrust.
    You were told wrong. Firing a lasaer would provide thrust.

    What is a bit off in your analysis is the foirce. 1Kg 3*10^8 m/s is not 3^10^8 N . It is 3*10^8 Newton-seconds which is momentum and not force. However, rocket propulsion is based on conservation of momentum so this is the unit that you are really trying to find.

    Propulsion based on the momentum carried by light is the principle in back of so-called "light saile" which is a viable means of space propulsion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momentum
    http://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=1424

    To do this properly you need to look at the momentum carried by a quantum of light (see the link provided above). So you don't normally look at "a kilogram of light", but you can do it that way using E=mc^=hf.

    Your teacher did not know what he was talking about. That is unfortunately not uncommon among high school science teachers.
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    S*it....I wonder what else I am misunderstanding....can you suggest a good general physics book that goes into fair detail? I need to get my understanding of physics straight through a reliable source.

    So, 1 Kg of light would offer 90,000,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy, which you could then equate to 300,000,000 Newtons of force for 300,000,000 seconds; and you would create that acceleration for that period of time if you turned 1Kg of mass into light and beamed the light out of your ship, correct? That is quite a bit of energy...imagine propelling a ship with that much acceleration for such a period of time? Would make interplanetary travel a breeze. If we could only harness antimatter....
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    S*it....I wonder what else I am misunderstanding....can you suggest a good general physics book that goes into fair detail? I need to get my understanding of physics straight through a reliable source.

    So, 1 Kg of light would offer 90,000,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy, which you could then equate to 300,000,000 Newtons of force for 300,000,000 seconds; and you would create that acceleration for that period of time if you turned 1Kg of mass into light and beamed the light out of your ship, correct? That is quite a bit of energy...imagine propelling a ship with that much acceleration for such a period of time? Would make interplanetary travel a breeze. If we could only harness antimatter....
    If you are willing to study and read between the lines the best freshman-level physics book ever is The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Feynman, Leighton and Sands. It is basically a set of lectures from a physics class for Cal Tech freshmen that Feynman gave in the early 1960's. It does not use sophisticated mathematics (just a little calculus and complex numbers) but it is very deep and insightful from the perspective of the physics that is covered. There is no more reliable source for physics than Richard Feynman.

    You are still off on your units. I have not checked the calculations, but Newton-seconds is momentum and not energy. Joules converts to Newton-meters not Newton-seconds. Force over distance gives you energy. Force over time gives you momentum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    S*it....I wonder what else I am misunderstanding....can you suggest a good general physics book that goes into fair detail? I need to get my understanding of physics straight through a reliable source.

    So, 1 Kg of light would offer 90,000,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy, which you could then equate to 300,000,000 Newtons of force for 300,000,000 seconds; and you would create that acceleration for that period of time if you turned 1Kg of mass into light and beamed the light out of your ship, correct? That is quite a bit of energy...imagine propelling a ship with that much acceleration for such a period of time? Would make interplanetary travel a breeze. If we could only harness antimatter....
    The formula for such a photonic rocket would be:



    Where Ms and Mf are the mass of the ship and fuel respectively.

    Thus if you had 1kg of fuel for every kg of ship, you could reach 60% of c.

    2 kg fuel per kg of ship get you to 80%
    3 kg : 88% (which gives you a time dilation factor of about 2.)
    10 kg:98 % (time dilation 5.5)
    100kg: 99.98% (time dilation 50)

    Of course, if you want to stop when you get there, then at 99.98% c, you will 100kg of fuel to stop every kg of ship, meaning you have to boost that fuel up to 99.98%c, which will take 10,100 kg of fuel, plus the 100 kg for braking give 10,200 kg of fuel for every kg of ship. (And by ship I mean engines, fuel storage, etc. leaving very little for actual payload.

    And if you want to return home, you'd better hope that there is an antimatter refueling depot where you're going.
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    Math...one of the few things that makes me want to shoot myself. I almost gave up physics a number of times because of it.

    You are still off on your units. I have not checked the calculations, but Newton-seconds is momentum and not energy. Joules converts to Newton-meters not Newton-seconds. Force over distance gives you energy. Force over time gives you momentum.
    I thought momentum was energy? But isn't distance directly related to time?

    A Newton is defined as 1N = (1Kg * M)/s^2

    "The newton is the unit of force derived in the SI system; it is equal to the amount of force required to accelerate a mass of one kilogram at a rate of one metre per second per second. "

    So, what is 2N equal to? Accelerating a mass of 2Kg at one meter per second per second? Accelerating a mass of 1Kg at a rate a 2 meters per second per second?

    If I ever get around to becoming a professional physicist, I will need to hire a right hand man to do all the math for me.

    For the rocket equation, what does the "ln" stand for, and what about the "h"? Sorry for my idiocy in math.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion


    For the rocket equation, what does the "ln" stand for, and what about the "h"? Sorry for my idiocy in math.
    ln stands for natural logarithm. It would be the power you'd have to raise "e"(2.718..) to in order to get the number following the ln. For instance, e^3 = 20.08, so ln20.08 = 3.

    tanh stands for the hyperbolic tangent. it is defined as:



    Scientific calculators will have a "hyp" button. Push it before pushing any of the trig buttons (cos, sin, tan) and you will get the hyperbolic function.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion

    I thought momentum was energy? But isn't distance directly related to time?
    Momentum and energy are different things.

    Momentum is force x time. Since force is a vector and time is a scalar, momentum is a fector.

    Energy is force x displacement. The x is really a "dot product", force and displacement both being vectors, so that energy is a scalar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    A Newton is defined as 1N = (1Kg * M)/s^2

    "The newton is the unit of force derived in the SI system; it is equal to the amount of force required to accelerate a mass of one kilogram at a rate of one metre per second per second. "

    So, what is 2N equal to? Accelerating a mass of 2Kg at one meter per second per second? Accelerating a mass of 1Kg at a rate a 2 meters per second per second?
    The correct answer is "yes". 2 Newton2 will accelerate 1 kg at 2 m/s^2 or 1 kg at 1m/s^2

    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    For the rocket equation, what does the "ln" stand for, and what about the "h"? Sorry for my idiocy in math.
    The rocket equation that Janus gave you is relativistic. In the Newtonian case the equation is a bit more simple

    and as in the relativistic case is the natural logarithm. is the velocity of the exhaust gasses.

    In an abuse of units, it is common for to be quoted in "seconds" in which case you need to change the equation above by mutiplying by 32.2. This probably sounds bizarre, and it is, but it is the result of inconsistent units that are commonly used by mechanical engineers.
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    Ok, another thing that has annoyed me for a long time, the equation E = 1/2MV^2.
    According to this equation, if you move two times as fast, you will have gained 4 times as much kinetic energy. I just accepted this until now, but really, isn't this illogical? I mean, I'm pretty sure that a rock thrown at me two times as fast will only hurt two times as much. I do not understand how doubling your relative motion to an outside observer can result in 4 times your previous energy. Did they write it this way just to be mathematically elegant?
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    Ok, another thing that has annoyed me for a long time, the equation E = 1/2MV^2.
    According to this equation, if you move two times as fast, you will have gained 4 times as much kinetic energy. I just accepted this until now, but really, isn't this illogical? I mean, I'm pretty sure that a rock thrown at me two times as fast will only hurt two times as much. I do not understand how doubling your relative motion to an outside observer can result in 4 times your previous energy. Did they write it this way just to be mathematically elegant?
    Believe it. It's true.
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    Well, how about this.

    Take a mass of 2 kg at rest and accelerate it to 2 m/s. Now, 1/2(2)(2^2) = 4. Ok, now do the same thing again and bring the same mass up by another 2 m/s. 1/2(2)(2^2)=4; so, to bring it up another 2 m/s you need another 4 Joules (w/e energy type...N meters seconds). OK....so you have put in a total of 8 Joules to get a mass of 2 Kg to 4 m/s. BUT, if you do that all at once in the equation you get 1/2(2)(4^2) = 16 !!!!!!!! Does this mean that I can save energy if I accelerate an object in two separate turns???!!!! :x
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket

    In an abuse of units, it is common for to be quoted in "seconds" in which case you need to change the equation above by mutiplying by 32.2. This probably sounds bizarre, and it is, but it is the result of inconsistent units that are commonly used by mechanical engineers.
    Quick point: Isp stands for "specific impulse". It is related to exhaust velocity by



    where g is the standard acceleration due to gravity on the surface of the Earth.

    Dimensionally, the right side reduces to:



    which is why it is measured in seconds.

    So what you multiply the formula by depends on what system of units you are using. for FPS you use 32.2, for MKS you use 9.81, and for CGS you use 981.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    Ok, now do the same thing again and bring the same mass up by another 2 m/s. 1/2(2)(2^2)=4; so, to bring it up another 2 m/s you need another 4 Joules (w/e energy type...N meters seconds).
    No,it doesn't work that way. You would need more energy to accelerate from 2 to 4 than from 0 to 2.
    For the second acceleration you would have
    E=1/2(2)(V2^2-V1^2) = 4^2-2^2=12

    Consider the work, which is a form of energy and is the force multiplied by the distance. From Newton's law, we know F=ma. With a constant acceleration, the force is equal in the first and second phase of the acceleration but it has to be applied over a greater distance in the second phase (because it is going faster).
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    Ok....but while you may need more energy from 2-4, will your mass actually be accepting that energy, or is that only the energy on your side? In other words, will you physically place more energy into the mass from 2-4 then from 0-2? This reminds me of relativistic acceleration.....
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket

    In an abuse of units, it is common for to be quoted in "seconds" in which case you need to change the equation above by mutiplying by 32.2. This probably sounds bizarre, and it is, but it is the result of inconsistent units that are commonly used by mechanical engineers.
    Quick point: Isp stands for "specific impulse". It is related to exhaust velocity by



    where g is the standard acceleration due to gravity on the surface of the Earth.

    Dimensionally, the right side reduces to:



    which is why it is measured in seconds.

    So what you multiply the formula by depends on what system of units you are using. for FPS you use 32.2, for MKS you use 9.81, and for CGS you use 981.
    Actually the correct consistent units for Isp are ft/sec, i.e. velocity, when derived from the rocket equation.

    However, those units are also in units of impulse per unit mass expelled or lbf-sec/lbm where lbf is "pounds force" and lbm is "pounds-mass". The unit of seconds results from canceling the "lbf" in the numerator with "lbm" in the denominator, leaving "seconds". Honest, that is how the units arise. Most people in the industry know that this invalid concellation has occurred and know the right formula (multiply by 32.2 which is called to get the correct in the rocket equation.

    Isp, in seconds only works in English units, and only when you are converting velocity to fps.

    It gets a little more complicated in practice, because the relationship between the velocity of the exhaust gasses and the measured thrust which integrated against time produces total impulse, is dependent on the ambient pressure. So, there are several different versions of Isp -- theoretical Isp (calculated based on 1000 psi chanber pressure and seal level ambient pressure, vacuum Isp (based on full expansion of the exhaust gasses and 0 ambient pressure), delivered Isp (based on actual test conditions including various loss mechanisms). The bottom line is that if you try to do calculations based on published Isp you need to be very careful as to what that Isp actually is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    Ok....but while you may need more energy from 2-4, will your mass actually be accepting that energy, or is that only the energy on your side? In other words, will you physically place more energy into the mass from 2-4 then from 0-2? This reminds me of relativistic acceleration.....
    Yes, you physically put more energy into the mass. No doubt you learned in driving class that the stopping distance of a car increases much more than proportionally to the speed. That is because the stopping force (friction) is a constant. Therefore the energy dissipated is proportional to stopping distance, and that distance increases as the square of the speed.

    And yes, energy is relative, because speed is relative, but we are still just talking about Newton's relativity, not Einstein's.
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    I can't believe that the universe works this way...adding energy into a system in the form of velocity gain is exponential!!!! So then, this would mean that if the earth were to rotate at a different speed, the amount of energy we need to put into something to double its speed would change, right? That may seem strange, but that is exactly what you are implying. The faster you are going, the more energy you need to double an objects speed...so the earth moving faster should change this, unless somehow in hell the earth acts as an absolute point of reference velocity wise?
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    I can't believe that the universe works this way...adding energy into a system in the form of velocity gain is exponential!!!! So then, this would mean that if the earth were to rotate at a different speed, the amount of energy we need to put into something to double its speed would change, right? That may seem strange, but that is exactly what you are implying. The faster you are going, the more energy you need to double an objects speed...so the earth moving faster should change this, unless somehow in hell the earth acts as an absolute point of reference velocity wise?
    Of course it takes more energy to double the speed as the speed goes higher. Kinetic energy is and that quadratic term in v tells you that if to double the speed that requires 4 times the energy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    I can't believe that the universe works this way...adding energy into a system in the form of velocity gain is exponential!!!! So then, this would mean that if the earth were to rotate at a different speed, the amount of energy we need to put into something to double its speed would change, right? That may seem strange, but that is exactly what you are implying. The faster you are going, the more energy you need to double an objects speed...so the earth moving faster should change this, unless somehow in hell the earth acts as an absolute point of reference velocity wise?
    Keep in mind that it is all relative, so if the earth speeds up, we speed up with it, and the KE increase we measure would be the same in both cases. However if our object strikes something in a different inertial reference frame, the difference would show up.

    It does seem a little weird. If you fire a gun, and burn a certain amount of gunpowder, it would impart a certain kinetic energy to the bullet. Somebody in a different reference frame would measure a different kinetic energy increase of the bullet, with the same amount of powder burned. That's the way it works, though.

    I think if you measured the change in the gun's recoil energy in each case, it would probably make sense. I'll have to try working an example.

    Edit:
    Okay, here's the example. You have a gun that fires a 1-ounce projectile 1000 feet per second from an 8-lb (128 oz.) gun. Calculate the velocity of the gun using conservation of momentum. 1000*1/128=7.8125 fps. Then calculating the KE using an online ballistics calculator
    http://billstclair.com/energy.html
    you get 970 foot-lb for the bullet and 8 foot-lb for the free recoil energy of the gun. Total for the system is 978.

    Now if the gun is on a vehicle moving 100 fps, a stationary observer on the ground would calculate the initial kinetic energy of gun plus bullet before firing as
    129 ounces@100 fps =1253 foot-lb

    After firing in the same direction as the vehicle is traveling the bullet has velocity of 1000+100=1100 fps and the gun has a velocity of 100-7.8125=92.1875 fps
    The KE of the bullet, relative to the ground after firing is 1 oz @1100fps = 1174 ft-lb. The KE of the gun is 128 oz @92.1872=1057 ft-lb. The total KE of the system is 1057+1174=2231. The change in KE from before to after firing is 2231-1253=978, which is the same as the change calculated by the observer on the moving vehicle.
    So the observers in both frames of reference calculate the same delta KE, but apportion it differently between the bullet and the recoiling gun.
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    I'm looking your post over, but before I continue I need to know this first: I was taught in school that when one object pushes another, it imparts an equal and opposite reaction. Meaning, if I were to jump off of a 10,000 kg rock in space, while we would travel in different directions at different speeds, we would still have the exact same kinetic energy. You wrote, "You get 970 foot-lb for the bullet and 8 foot-lb for the free recoil energy of the gun. Total for the system is 978." So...how is it possible for the bullet to receive much more energy than the gun?
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    You wrote, "You get 970 foot-lb for the bullet and 8 foot-lb for the free recoil energy of the gun. Total for the system is 978." So...how is it possible for the bullet to receive much more energy than the gun?
    It is a consequence of conservation of momentum and the proportionality of KE to the square of the velocity.

    Because of conservation of momentum (m1v1=m2v2) the smaller object will get more velocity than the larger object, in inverse proportion to the ratio of mass. Because the KE is proportional to the square of the velocity, and the small mass gets most of the velocity, it gets more of the KE.

    Think about it. If the recoil energy was the same as the bullet energy, the gun would kill on both ends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    I'm looking your post over, but before I continue I need to know this first: I was taught in school that when one object pushes another, it imparts an equal and opposite reaction. Meaning, if I were to jump off of a 10,000 kg rock in space, while we would travel in different directions at different speeds, we would still have the exact same kinetic energy. You wrote, "You get 970 foot-lb for the bullet and 8 foot-lb for the free recoil energy of the gun. Total for the system is 978." So...how is it possible for the bullet to receive much more energy than the gun?
    There is an equal and opposite reaction. That means that the opposing forces, being opposite, impart opposite momentums to each of the two particles, which therefore cancel and the system has gained no net momentum.

    But energy is a scalar. Each of those forces do work on the two particles and each particle gains energy. The energy is positive in each case and the net result is that the kinetic energy of the system increases by the sum of the two energies.

    Now, energy is conserved, so there is somewhere a loss in potential energy, perhaps chemical, that was responsible for the creation of the forces in the first place. But the kinetic energy of the system has definitely increased.

    Think of a gun. You pull the trigger and chemical energy in the poweder is converted to heat which creates a high-pressure gas. All the forces involved satisfy the "equal and opposite" rule, but nevertheless the bullet comes out with high kinetic energy and the gun recoils, demonstrating more kinetic energy. The momentum of the bullet and expanding gas creates a momentum along the axis of the barrel, which is exactly balanced by momentum of the gun in the opposite direction (recoil). But a lot of new kinetic energy is created. The source was the chemical energy stored in the molecules of the gun powder (which in turn is really stored electromagnetic energy of the electrons in the molecules).


    You have now shown at least things that you "were taught in school" that are badly off the mark. Either you did not listen very well in school, or you were taught a bunch of nonsense. In either case you need to relearn the material. Something is definitely amiss.

    What is your education level ? Perhaps with some insight in that regard we can recommend some appropriate sources for you.
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    No, I did listen, if you count a 97% as listening. I was the "star student" of the class. I am currently attending college. It seems that my education in physics went the same way my education in music went; they taught me things that were not necessarily true or proper for the sole purpose of efficiently having me deal with the immediate material at hand. I always knew my education was crap, but I did not know it was THAT bad.

    "Think about it. If the recoil energy was the same as the bullet energy, the gun would kill on both ends."

    I was literally told that when firing a gun you receive the same impact as that which the bullet would provide, but that it does not kill you since it is over a much larger surface area.

    So then to clarify, the bullet does in fact receive more kinetic energy than the gun initially, but in the second example where the gun is fired from a vehicle it receives less in proportion to the gun?
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion

    I was literally told that when firing a gun you receive the same impact as that which the bullet would provide, but that it does not kill you since it is over a much larger surface area.

    So then to clarify, the bullet does in fact receive more kinetic energy than the gun initially, but in the second example where the gun is fired from a vehicle it receives less in proportion to the gun?
    The gun has the same momentum as the bullet plus the exhaust gasses. Since the exhaust gasses have significant momentum (the gasses mass is the same as the mass of the gun poweder and is a significant fraction of the bullet mass, say 25% or more and traveling faster at the muzzle) the gun actually has significantly higher momentum than the bullet alone.

    The momentum determines the free recoil velocity of the gun. The heavier the gun the lower the velocity. The velocity in turn determines the free recoil energy. Since energy is 1/2 mv^2 the energy drops off more rapidly as velocity decreases than does momentum. So with a heavy gun the recoil energy is considerably less than the energy of the bullet.

    A bullet does not kill with energy. It kills by penetrating and disrupting biological processes. Recoil generally does not kill you because it just thumps your shoulder a bit. A bullet kills you because it destroys the heart or some vital organ or causes your to bleed to death.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    So then to clarify, the bullet does in fact receive more kinetic energy than the gun initially, but in the second example where the gun is fired from a vehicle it receives less in proportion to the gun?
    No, not quite. In the second case where the gun is fired from a moving vehicle, the bullet receives exactly the same KE, 970 ft-lb, in reference to the shooter, as it did when fired from the ground. In the ground's reference frame, the bullet fired from the vehicle gains 1164 ft-lb (1174 final-10 initial), but the gun loses 186 ft-lb of KE. It is going slower relative to the ground. Net change for the system is the same, 978 foot-lb of KE were added to the gun-bullet system by firing the gun.

    It would be a good idea for you to do some examples on your own to get a feel for what is happening.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Recoil generally does not kill you because it just thumps your shoulder a bit. A bullet kills you because it destroys the heart or some vital organ or causes your to bleed to death.
    Of course, you are correct. But if the gun hit you with the same KE as it gave to the bullet, damn that's gonna hurt. An 8-lb gun with 978 ft-lb of kinetic energy is going over 60 miles per hour.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Recoil generally does not kill you because it just thumps your shoulder a bit. A bullet kills you because it destroys the heart or some vital organ or causes your to bleed to death.
    Of course, you are correct. But if the gun hit you with the same KE as it gave to the bullet, damn that's gonna hurt. An 8-lb gun with 978 ft-lb of kinetic energy is going over 60 miles per hour.
    Right. That is consistent with my statement that by making the gun heavy you can wind up with very low recoil energy. The momentum of the recoil will be constant, independent of the weight of the gun, but the energy is not.

    I haven't fired a gun in a couple of hours now, but my shotgun weighs a lot more than the 7/8 oz of shot, and that is why it doesn't hurt.
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    Ok...I think I may be starting to get this. So....the gun's proportionality of kinetic energy changes because 0 - 10 = -10 which is equal to +10, but when moving at 100, 100 - 10 = 90, which is an absolute reduction in energy that cannot have its negative sign switched around to a positive?

    The momentum of the recoil will be constant, independent of the weight of the gun, but the energy is not.
    Uhhgg....I am still not understanding this difference between energy versus momentum. Both terms seem to describe the exact same thing, just in a different way. I cannot see how one can be effected, but the other not.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    Uhhgg....I am still not understanding this difference between energy versus momentum. Both terms seem to describe the exact same thing, just in a different way. I cannot see how one can be effected, but the other not.
    There are several obvious differences. For one thing, they do not have the same units of measure. As we have been discussing, momentum is proportional to velocity whereas energy is proportional to the square of the velocity, so they are clearly a different properties. And, momentum is a vector whereas energy is a scalar.

    Calculate the sum of the momenta of two equal masses moving at equal speed in opposite directions. It's zero, because momentum is a vector. Now calculate the kinetic energy.

    If I were to guess, I would say you have not worked very many homework problems involving momentum and energy. If you had, you would have a better idea of how those concepts are used and applied.
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    I'm telling you, my teacher did not elaborate on the differences.

    It seems to me that momentum is the current force (can't use the word energy) that an object possesses, but energy is the potential force that it may possess.

    I will look over this thread over the next few days and see if I can figure it all out.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    I'm telling you, my teacher did not elaborate on the differences.

    It seems to me that momentum is the current force (can't use the word energy) that an object possesses, but energy is the potential force that it may possess.

    I will look over this thread over the next few days and see if I can figure it all out.
    No. Any kinetic mass has both a momentum and an energy (namely, kinetic energy). Elastic potential energy and gravitational potential energy are two examples of potential energies. Kinetic energy and momentum share different properties however; in momentum, that is, , velocity and mass equally influence their product (the momentum itself), while in kinetic energy, , velocity is twice as influential as mass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    I'm telling you, my teacher did not elaborate on the differences.

    It seems to me that momentum is the current force (can't use the word energy) that an object possesses, but energy is the potential force that it may possess.

    I will look over this thread over the next few days and see if I can figure it all out.
    You need to read a physics book. You have this all fouled up.

    Momentum is a vector quantity, the product of mass times velocity . It turns out to also be equal to the applied force times the time period over which it is applied. Note that velocity,, is a vector.

    Energy is a scalar quantity. It is equal to force times the distance over which it is applied. Kinetic energy is . Note that is a scalar.

    Force is neither energy nor momentum. It is that which can accelerate a mass accorcint to Newton's equation F=mA. Both force and acceleration are vector quantities.

    There is no such thing as potential force. There is such a thing as potential energy. Potential energy is just energy that is not kinetic energy.

    The number of complete erroneous things that you attribute to your teacher is mind boggling. Either you did not listen, or your teacher knows no physics. In either case you need to start over from scratch with your education in physics. Get a good physics text.

    Two good ones are The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Feynman, Leighton and Sands and Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick and Walker.
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    I think I understand it now. I combined what you said with a few of my personal kinetic energy "theories" and acquired an agreeable answer between the two.

    Oh, I've had to throw out very much of what my teacher taught me. Surprisingly though even if my knowledge is rather incomplete, I still have small areas of physics where my understanding is exceptionally good, in 1 or 2 better than anyone else on this planet, cannot explain to you why though :wink: , that might eventually give away my identity!

    I will look into getting the Feynman Lectures; it should help piece together my knowledge and fill in any gaps.

    Thank you once again for assisting a seemingly hopeless case on a topic.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    , I still have small areas of physics where my understanding is exceptionally good, in 1 or 2 better than anyone else on this planet, cannot explain to you why though .
    That is highly unlikely. It is a big planet.

    The danger is that if you believe this you may well ignore good counsel on the subject.
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    I know I know, however if someone else had thought of certain ideas of mine, I would know about it. Trust me, if you only had to invest 6 months of work in an idea in exchange for $250,000,000, wouldn't you? Best part is, the majority of well qualified people in those 1-2 small fields all work for large corporations and laboratories where you are obliged to share your research findings; I had all of my close friends and family go through every inch of the internet to see if anyone else had thought of the same ideas, and no one had. Looks like I win the race in those two fields Sometimes all you need is the right perspective and enough creativity to beat 150 years worth of research by countless average people and PHd's.

    LCLD6T23!!!
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    I know I know, however if someone else had thought of certain ideas of mine, I would know about it. Trust me, if you only had to invest 6 months of work in an idea in exchange for $250,000,000, wouldn't you? Best part is, the majority of well qualified people in those 1-2 small fields all work for large corporations and laboratories where you are obliged to share your research findings; I had all of my close friends and family go through every inch of the internet to see if anyone else had thought of the same ideas, and no one had. Looks like I win the race in those two fields Sometimes all you need is the right perspective and enough creativity to beat 150 years worth of research by countless average people and PHd's.

    LCLD6T23!!!
    If you really think that you have something then you need to act promptly:

    1) If it is a commercializable idea get cracking on a patent application. You need to file quickly to establish yourself as the inventor and not be scooped by someone else.

    2) If is a scientific principle, then you need to publish to establish precedence. That means write it up and submit to an appropriate mainstream journal.

    But don't be surprised if someone else has already thought of it. That is not unusual, even if you think you have scoured the internet.

    The bad news. The last time that I checked (about 4 years ago) a patent would cost about $20,000 in legal fees. If your idea has military implications then there can be additional complications.
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    Oh, I have acted indeed, quite dramatically actually; the lengths I have gone through to get to my current point were drastic. Unfortunately you are correct in that patents are damn expensive, BUT they are not $20,000 if you know where to look. Best price going that I have found is $8000. Not great, but not $20,000 either. If you get creative enough however, you do not need a patent! Unfortunately the workings of my methods are by no means solid and are prone to failure. I'll tell you that the past few months have been spent on expending my methods; I saved the best for last though, and at this point it seems as if I will indeed receive a patent-less way to solidify my ideas into reality. Good thing I will not have to sell my camera to afford the patent.

    The idea I have done the extensive research on is an invention, not a scientific principle. You are right, if this were a scientific principle my chances would not be looking too good. For patents, you can file for intellectual property rights as long as the idea is not widely known; it does not matter if a small number of individuals have thought of it before you. However for scholarly work, if even one person has thought of it regardless of whether or not they have told anyone, you loose all of your advantages. Just today I was watching The Universe and what do you know! an invention I had thought of a few months ago was sitting right before my eyes to the exact detail! It was a improvement over LIGO, an interferometer that could be built in space where each arm of the beam would be a satellite placed hundreds of miles apart; since you are using space as the vacuum, you do not need any connecting pieces hence dramatically reducing the cost for an ultra large interferometer. Seems someone else had also thought of it, and likely way before I did. In fact, 98% of the ideas that I think of have already been conceived by someone else, but occasionally I think of a real gem that is unique only to my mind and is scientifically feasible.

    The nature of my idea has allowed me to research the cutting edge in that field, and the cutting edge is nothing like mine. When searching for the best of the best, I consistently came up with the same thing. The only way my idea could already exist is if the government classified it for whatever reason. If the government does not like the idea of the public knowing of your idea, then they will remove your patent filing and make you sign an agreement to not disclose the details of your idea to anyone. Allot of this happened during WW2 and the Cold War.

    Military? Ha! I would never assist those bas***ds. Helping people kill each other is just not my thing. You guys don't have to worry about me creating the next atomic bomb

    I'm sure that you will want to know of my (potential)success, but that may be quite a while from now so that I can disconnect my actual success from what I post here, which may require a 6-12 month causality gap. But you will hear of it eventually nonetheless.

    If any of my patent-less methods work out, if it is appropriate I will elaborate on the methods workings so that anyone else out there with a great idea can securely submit it without selling all of their possessions and getting a second mortgage. It really infuriates me how hard it is to patent/virtually patent an idea. Patents are good for the economy anyways since they reallocate the wealth from large corporations to individuals who actually NEED the money to eat and sleep under a roof. As you all know, a students economic situation is not great; it would be nice to perhaps have a car and eat decent quality food once in a while. This idea will do that for me to say the least.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    The idea I have done the extensive research on is an invention, not a scientific principle. You are right, if this were a scientific principle my chances would not be looking too good. For patents, you can file for intellectual property rights as long as the idea is not widely known; it does not matter if a small number of individuals have thought of it before you.
    If anyone thought of the idea and made it public you have a problem. A patent that is based on information in the public domain is easily invalidated. A valid patent can only be granted to the inventor of the device.

    It matters a great deal of anyone thought to of the idea before you. I don't know who told you otherwise, but you ought to make sure that you heard him correctly and if he persists in this notion, you might want to get your advice elsewhere.

    There are very strict conditions on patent disclosures, and time limits on how long after disclosure you can wait to apply.
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    That goes with the idea that mailing your invention to yourself is a pointless legal defense against another attempting to file a patent after you have 'mail patented' your idea. If only a few people know of your idea (bellow 100) and have not gotten to the point of socially spreading it or recording it and then posting it in the public domain, then you can still file the patent. I talked to a lawyer friend about this, that's how I know these conditions. I have also read through the USTPO website confirming much of what he told me. Can you imagine how awful it would be if every time someone patented something someone else came around and said, "Hey I also thought of that, your patent is void"? Nothing would even be patented, since very often someone else thinks of the same idea but never patents it before the person who actually does get around to patenting it.

    So, I doubt that if more than 100 people had thought of it that there would be zero data on it anywhere. If only a few people have the same idea, it comes down to who patents their idea first. Every single legitimate inventor faces the same situation that I am in right now; but you cannot be scared at the idea that someone else has already thought of the same idea in some garage somewhere.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

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