Sunday, April 26, 2009

Does mass increase with velocity ?

Q: Does Mass increase with velocity ?
A: In short NO, mass (also sometimes known as rest mass) is the same in all frames of reference! 
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Q: What, then is relativistic mass ?
A: Relativistic mass simply refers to the energy and momentum of a system. If a body has relativistic mass, then it is the same as saying that it has energy and momentum but it doesn't necessarily mean that the body has mass
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Relativistic mass was introduced at first to explain the fact that inertia and gravitational effects of a body increased at high velocities, hence it was (mis)understood that mass increases with velocity. But later, it was realized that relativistic mass is a needless concept. It was energy and momentum of a body that gravitate and exhibit inertia and not the "mass" of the body.
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Relativistic mass is not mass at all! Even though we have the word mass attached. This is what creates the confusion.

1 comment:

  1. relativistic mass does in fact matter because it is THE reason nothing can travel at light speed. It is NOT a needless concept

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