Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Equilibrium stability

  1. Apr 9, 2006 #1
    In classical mechanics - virtual work lecture, for determining equilibrium stability we were told that second derivate of potential can be used. How?

    I've made a quick google search, but couldn't find anything remarkable.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 9, 2006 #2
    If [tex]\frac{\partial^2U}{\partial x^2}[/tex] is postive then U is at a minimum (basic calculus - second derivative test). If instead it is negative then U is at a maximum. A point of equilibrium is stable if U is minimum and unstable if U is maximum.
  4. Apr 9, 2006 #3
    I guess this because objects in a potential field tend move through where their potentials get lower?
  5. Apr 9, 2006 #4

    Physics Monkey

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Absolutely! After all, which way does the force point?
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Equilibrium stability
  1. Stability of bicycle (Replies: 3)

  2. Stability of bicycle. (Replies: 4)

  3. Stability of Orbits (Replies: 1)