We study the analog of Snell's law for particles moving across the interface of two regions with two different potential energies, from two different points of view. First, a simple demonstration involving marbles and a potential step is shown. Then, from a theoretical point of view, this law describing mechanical refraction is derived from the Maupertuis and Jacobi variational principles, in close analogy with the well known derivation of Snell's law for refraction from Fermat's least time principle. Finally, the relativistic version of mechanical refraction is obtained by the Maupertuis principle, by trading the Newtonian dispersion relation with the relativistic one. The pedagogical significance of this treatment is discussed.

Mechanical refraction in action

De Luca R.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Di Mauro M.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Naddeo A.
Membro del Collaboration Group
2020-01-01

Abstract

We study the analog of Snell's law for particles moving across the interface of two regions with two different potential energies, from two different points of view. First, a simple demonstration involving marbles and a potential step is shown. Then, from a theoretical point of view, this law describing mechanical refraction is derived from the Maupertuis and Jacobi variational principles, in close analogy with the well known derivation of Snell's law for refraction from Fermat's least time principle. Finally, the relativistic version of mechanical refraction is obtained by the Maupertuis principle, by trading the Newtonian dispersion relation with the relativistic one. The pedagogical significance of this treatment is discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4768606
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