# During this tutorial you will be asked to perform calculations involving trigonometric functiions.

You will need a calulator to proceed. The purpose of this tutorial is to review with you the elementary properties of the trigonometric functions. Facility with this subject is essential to success in all branches of science, and you are strongly urged to review and practice the concepts presented here until they are mastered. Let us consider the right-angle triangle shown in Panel 1. The angle at C is a right angle and the angle at A we will call θ. The lengths of the sides of the triangle we will denote as p, q and r. From your elementary geometry, you know several things about this triangle. For example, you know the Pythagorean relation, q² = p² + r². That is, the square of the length of the side opposite the right angle, which we call the hypotenuse, is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides.

Panel 1

We know other things. For example, we know that if the lengths of the three sides of any triangle p, q and r are specified, then the whole triangle is determined, angles included. If you think about this for a moment, you will see it is correct. If I give you three sticks of fixed length and told you to lay them down in a triangle, there's only one triangle which you could make. What we would like to have is a way of relating the angles in the triangle, say θ, to the lengths of the sides. It turns out that there's no simple analytic way to do this. Even though the triangle is specified by the lengths of the three sides, there is not a simple formula that will allow you to calculate the angle θ. We must specify it in some new way. To do this, we define three ratios of the sides of the triangle. One ratio we call the sine of theta, written sin(θ), and it is defined as the ratio of the side opposite θ to the hypotenuse, that is r/q. Panel 1 The cosine of θ, written cos(θ), is the side adjacent to θ over the hypotenuse, that is, p/q. This is really enough, but because it simplifies our mathematics later on, we define the tangent of θ, written tan(θ), as the ratio of the opposite to the adjacent sides, that is r/p. This is not an independent definition since you can readily see that the tangent of θ is equal to the sine of θ divided by the cosine of θ. Verify for yourself that this is correct. In order to make these functions useful in calculations, we need numerical values of them for the different values of θ. All scientific calculators provide this information. The first thing to ensure is that your calculator is set to the anglular measure that you want. Angles are usually measured in either degrees or

Panel 2

Panel 3

Panel 4

180º). So we have the sin(θ) = (-r)/q = -sin(α) = -sin(θ . we say that the magnitude of sine. and clearly. cosine and tangent of 140º? The supplement is 180º . And tan(θ) = (-r)/(-p) = r/p = tan(α) = tan(θ 180º). One can. Therefore.Panel 5 [(p² + r²) / (q²)]. it is useful to find the corresponding angle betweeen 0 and 90º.θ) cos(α) = (-p/q) = -cos(α) = -cos(180º . r is positive and p is negative. In this case. and tan(140º) = -0. . and tangent of θ are those of the supplement α and we only have to examine whether or not they are positive or negative. Using your calculator determine the sine.8391.7660.7660 tan(40º) = 0.θ) tangent of α = r/(-p) = -tan(α) = . The angle we are concerned with is 190º . cosine.tan(180º .180º = 10º. cosine and tangent of 190º. in Panel 6. We should now investigate the rules for these functions in other quadrants as shown in panel 7. Panel 6 We always assume that the hypotenuse q is positive.8391 Now we know that sin(140º) = 0. sin(40º) = 0. Find the sine. using the calculator.180º. Panel 6 will help us here. which is 180 .140º = 40º. Our discussion so far has been limited to angles between 0 and 90º. we see that the angle to be dealt with is α = θ .θ).6428. cos(140º) = -0.θ ( α is marked with a double arc) can be dealt with. what is the sine. the angle θ is clearly between 90º and 180 º. Clearly. but r and p have the sign appropriate to their direction with respect to the origin. In the first case. Notice that only the sin is positive. Panel 7 Similarly cos(θ) = (-p)/q = -cos(α) = -cos(θ . cos² + sin² = 1. In this xy reference frame. the angle α.6428 cos(40º) = 0. Sometimes. Now both r and p are negative. the cosine and the tangent of 40º. we have. find the the sine of larger angles (eg 140º ) or negative angles (eg -32º ) directly. however. For example. The Pythagorean theorem tells us that p² + r² = q² so we have [(p² + r²) / q²] = (q²/q²) = 1.180º). we can write r/q = sin(α) = sin(180º . Notice in this case only the tangent is positive. Therefore.

9848 tan(190º) = 0. Notice only the cosine is positive. in the second quadrant. then. summarized in Panel 9. sin(θ) = r/q. and in the fourth quadrant. Panel 8 There is a simple rule by which you can remember all of these results. And the c. only the tangent is positive. Panel 9 Let us now look at a graph of these functions. and p and q are positive while r is negative. Obviously. we get the following relations given in Panel 8. Notice in the first quadrant. The value of sine will rise asθ increases and reach a value of 1 when θ = 90º. You can see this plotted in panel 11a. Look at panel 10. in the third. you can see that sine of 0 is 0 since r will be 0. since then r will be equal to q. tells you which function is positive in each quadrant. only the sine is positive. only the cosine is positive. sine and tangent.1736 cos(10º) = 0. The little mnemonic at the right.1763 Finally. all the functions are positive. in the right-hand side of Panel 7 is the last case. As before.1763. all.9848 tan(10º) = 0. s and t stand for cosine.α). the sine function is one which increases from 0 to a maximum value of 1 as θ increases from 0º to 90º.1736 cos(190º) = -0. sin(190º) = -0. a. let's see what we can learn just from inspection. From our definition. The angle of concern θ is now (360º . Panel 10 .sin(10º) = 0. But before we examine it in detail. Therefore. called the CAST Rule.

it decreases back to 0 but remains positive as we saw earlier. This says that sin(90º + θ) = cos(θ). Beyond 360º. Panel 12 The tangent curve looks quite different. You can work out the rest of it for yourself. you remember. p = 0. At 0º. it was always negative. Panel 13 . it just repeats. How does the cosine function behave? Panel 11 again shows you. From 180º to 360º.Panel 11 From 90º to 180º. But in this approximation. Look at panel 13. and so cos(90 º ) = 0. One last point which you will find used many times are the approximate values of these functions when θ is very small. You see that the cosine function is exactly the same as the sine function if you slide the sine function graph back 90º. Panel 12 shows that tan(0) = r/p = 0. particularly in the study of waves and alternating current in electricity and electronics. and you can readily see. of course. This is like our other figures except that we have put the triangle into the sector of a circle of radius q. Panel 12 shows this function. You can readily see that as θ gets very small. you will find it most important to appreciate this property. At 90º. This is shown in Panel 11b. it has a minimum value of -1 at 270º. q = p and so the value is 1. The tangent function is a repeating one but not oscillatory. p and q become very nearly equal and so the cosine approaches the value 1 as we already know. and in your studies in physics. but tan(90º) = r/p = since r is finite but p has gone to 0. The function is what we call an oscillatory function.

. And the case where x varies inversely with y. which is equal to ax + ny. Or written as an equality where G is the Universal Gravitation Constant. is 1. or sometimes we say x is proportional to y. and that 0 can not be used as a base. thus. . that characterize the particular problem. which is equal to ny times ax + y.When multiplying ax by ay the rule is to add the exponents. that the force of attraction between two bodies varies directly as the product of their masses and inversely as the square of the distance between them. Thus (ax )y is equal to axy. These expressions can be written as equalities by inserting constants of proportionality. Thus ax divided by ay is equal to ax . Alternatively it could be done this way. expressed in the appropriate units. or sometimes we say x is inversely proportional to y. Now let's look at proportionality. That is . . varies directly with y. As an example. which is equal to ny times ax times ay. Suppose b can be expressed as a quantity n times a. How do we handle expressions like ax times by? Now the bases are different and the above rules no longer apply. Often in physical problems. When raising a number to a power. Newton's Law of Gravitation states. These parameters are called variables. On the other hand. one deals with parameters that vary as certain other parameters are varied. Let's consider two cases. Where k and k1 are unique constants. The case where the parameter . Then ax times by equals ax x (na)y. then the solution is best handled by resorting to the use of logarithms. ax times ay equals ax + y. x . if b is neither a simple multiple nor a simple power of a. suppose that b could be written as an. Then we would write ax times by is equal to ax times (an)y which is equal to ax times any. for example x = ky and .y. This is obvious since ax times ay is (x+y) a's multiplied together. to a further power. . if we can express b as a multiple or a power of a then the problem can be solved. Note however that any base raised to the power of 0. When dividing ax by ay. the exponents are multiplied. It should be mentioned that the above rules for handling powers are valid for the exponent being ± an integer or a fraction. however. the rule is to subtract the exponents. as before.

To obtain y alone on the left hand side. of course. M. and then v and u have units of m/s. Factor both sides of the equation. remembering that terms change signs when they change sides.We will now examine the solutions of a linear equation in one unknown. Thus we obtain. from kinematics. All terms in an equation. suppose we wish to solve the following equation for x. a is the acceleration and t is the time interval. First put the expression involving the unknown y on the left hand side of the equation. If you wish to substitute in numerical values for the parameters. and time of course has the dimension of T. In other words. distance in metres and time in seconds). b. and wish to solve for the unknown designated y. as shown. and u is the initial velocity. Where we know values for a. For example. the equation for uniform motion in a straight line. . connected by a plus or minus sign must have the same dimensions and be in the same system of units.a). has units of seconds. c. Or finally.a). For example. and we get (x + a) = 2(x . ad = by + c. length and time into which most physical quantities can be reduced. Let us suppose that we are confronted with an equation of the following form. u has the dimensions L T-1 and. it is necessary to divide the left hand side by b.c. first choose a system of units. but to retain the equality. giving (x . One word of caution however. a has units of m/s2 and t. giving . Now let's look at the solutions of two simultaneous equations. as long as you do the same thing to both sides of the equation. acceleration has the dimensions L/T2. multiplying and dividing by terms etc. Divide both sides of the equation by (x . and d. remember that an equation is simply a statement of equality. x = 3a. v = u + at. The rule is that you can do anything you want to an equation in terms of adding and subtracting terms. and everything else on the right hand side. where v is the final. a times t has the dimensions L T-2 times t. division by 0 is not allowed. for mass. There are three basic dimensions.a)(x + a) = 2(x . v has the dimensions L T-1 .a)2. which is L T-1. transpose terms from one side of the equation to the other. the right hand side must also be divided by b. Two equations and two unknowns can be solved in a straight forward fashion using the techniques already developed.a). Therefore the equation v = u + at is dimensionally correct. L and T. for example the mks system (where mass is in kilograms. by = ad . Thus. Let's now turn our attention to the dimensionality of the equations.a)(x . Now how do we deal with common factors? Often the solution of an equation can be simplified by removing factors common to all terms. Consider for example. x2-a2 = 2(x . velocities have the dimension L/T.

1 is still 1. we can write in a general way as follows.y = 2 to get 4(3-y) . (1 + x)n. Solve to get 12 -4y -y = 2 or 5y = 10 and finally y = 2. . This equation is called the binomial expansion. For example.y = 2. and expand.y. which can be written. we would have (1 + x)0 = 1. . for n = 2. suppose x = 0. Solve either one of the equations. substitute this into 4x .Let us consider the two equations x + y = 3 and 4x . for one of the unknowns in terms of the other. if x is a number less than 1 many of the higher order terms in the expansion can be deleted.y = 2. I have Let's do one more. for n = 3. and for n = 2 we have (1 + x)2 = 1 + 2x + x2. Often it is necessary to calculate expressions of the following form. Let us write down the expression for several values of n. for n = 3 we have (1 + x)3 = 1 + 3x + 3x2 + x3 and so on. Finally let us look at the binomial expansion. . If we substitute n = 7 into the binomial expansion. The format that we saw emerging. where n may be an integer or a fraction.0001) and so on. The first step is to eliminate one of the unknowns. for n = 1.01 these terms become 1 + . which equals 1. I have written the answer as . for n = 1 we have (1 + x)1 = 1 + x. x = 3 .07. Consider the equation x + y = 3. If we were working to only three significant figures. only the first two terms in the expansion would contribute. For n = 0. Therefore the solutions to the equation is x = 1 and y = 2. because they become negligible. I have written the answer as written the answer as . And now with x as 0. For n = 0. I will demonstrate only one. You will note that there is a general format becoming evident. We wish to solve for both x and y. Now substitute this value into the previous equation (x=3-y) to get x = 3-2.01 and n = 7. we'll find . and we could say that 1 + 7x = 1. this can be accomplished in several ways.07 + (2 x .

by Newton's Second Law is Fg = m g where g is the acceleration due to gravity and m is the mass of the carriage. Gravity <!--[endif]-->The first force we will investigate is that due to gravity. Note also that this force is commonly called “weight”. labelled Fg. We know that the acceleration due to gravity (if on Earth) is approximately g = 9. Let's add this to our diagram. It is always perpendicular to the surface with which an object is in contact. Normal The normal force is one which prevents objects from 'falling' into whatever it is they are sitting upon. Again. It is called the normal force because “normal” and “perpendicular” mean the same thing. The force. and we'll call it the gravitational force. The normal force on the crate points upward perpendicular to the floor. .The binomial expansion can also be used if the exponent is negative. points downward. For example. This 'weight' (mg) is different from our everyday use of the word 'weight' (which is known in physics as 'mass').8 m/s2. and then the general expression takes the following form ( the expansion converges for x2 < 1). . and because of this force. as this is the direction in which the gravitation force acts. n may be an integer or a fraction. Note that the force vector. and so on. then we say that the crate experiences a normal force exerted by the floor. And this becomes. the crate does not fall into the floor. if there is a crate on the floor.

Let's add the normal force to our FBD and represent the normal force with the letter N. Friction is usually approximated as being proportional to the normal force. (Of course rolling objects experience friction as well. Furthermore. friction opposes motion. the frictional force is parallel.) This is the force which causes objects to slow down and eventually stop. These are represented by Ff. The two are related because they are both due to the fact that the body is in contact with the surface. For a body on a sloping surface (say a ramp) the normal force acting on that body is still perpendicular to the slope. Friction Related to the normal force is the frictional force. The proportionality constant is called the coefficient of (static or kinetic) friction. Whereas the normal force was perpendicular to the surface. and so its vector always points away from the direction of movement. the numerical value of µ depends on the nature of the surface with which the body is in contact. It is the force which makes it difficult to start something moving. . On the other hand.The normal force is always perpendicular to the surface with which a body is in contact. As its name suggests. The coefficient is represented as µs for static friction. and a subscript 'k' for kinetic friction. Friction is divided into two types-static and kinetic. static friction occurs when the body is not moving with respect to the surface. and µk for kinetic friction. . with a further subscript 's' for static friction. kinetic friction occurs when the body is sliding over the surface.

Of course.9. 1.9 = 1. Pause here and check it.3 = 0.669157 on your calculator.97? If not.3 x 6. you might have got something like 8.193885 = 8.193885 i.9 = ? ln 1.669157 antiln (-1. Now.9 = e2. log 1. try again. suppose you have a certain number of radioactive atoms at time t = 0.e. In the table below. I've taken the difference between the ln of 1. then find its antiln.262364 i.9 = 0.97 If the sum of logarithms gives the product of two numbers.931521 i.3 = 0.9 on your calculator and you'll see that 8.3 divided by 6.3 x 6.1884 Don't be afraid of the negative sign.9 = -1. this is just 1. Enter -1.96999 but of course that really is 8.1884.97. It simply means that the answer is less than 1.724906 antilog (-0. 1. Let's let this number be N0.9 = 1. 1.3/6.3/6.9.9) = -0.3 and the ln of 6. Note we are working with natural logs in this example. try again.193885 antiln 2.e.Did you get 8. Check it on your calculator. then the difference gives the quotient.3 = e0.9 = e1.838849 log(1.3/6. multiply 1.9 = ? ln 1.1884 The logarithmic and exponential functions are very important since many physical and biological processes can be described by them. Of course. I have done the whole problem over again using common logs. .669157) = 0. 6.3 x 6. The whole operation could be done with natural logarithms as well as shown below. In the table below. For example.931521 total = 2.931521 ln 1.262364 ln 6. Radioactivity behaves in such a way that the number N of radioactive atoms remaining at a later time t is given by a linear variation of the logarithm of N with t.e.3 = 0.724906) = 0. If you didn't get 0. 1.97 is indeed the correct answer.262364 ln 6.113943 log 6.

Now let's take antilogarithms and do the right side first. the equation of radioactivity is ln N = -kt + ln N0 where ln N0 is the y intercept and the slope of the line is -k. Therefore. The left-hand side is the antiln of the ln and so it just becomes N divided by N0. The antiln of any quantity is the number e to the power of that quantity so the right-hand side becomes e-kt. log (7. ln (ekt) = ? 4. Lets get the logarithms on one side so that we get ln N . we can rearrange to put the final equation in the form N = N0 e-kt which is called the equation of "exponential decay". ln N = ln N0 -kt.0042 = ? Vectors © Department of Physics. Here is where it is important to be able to do algebra with logarithms.8704 = ? 6. But we know that the difference of logarithms is the logarithm of the quotient so the left-hand side becomes ln N/N0. Quiz Try the following questions: 1. so you can see why taking an antiln is often called "exponentiation". e2. antilog 0.42) = ? 2. University of Guelph . You know that the equation of such a straight line is given by y = mx+b where m is the slope and b is the y intercept. antiln 2. 100.ln N0 = -kt.8704 = ? 8.42) = ? 3. ln (7.That is. a graph of ln N vs t is a straight line.0042 = ? 7. log (ekt) = ? 5. Let's now examine the equation we derived for radioactivity. Finally.

Panel 1 This is often simplified to just . This is shown in Panel 1. Click the PSIgate logo to access their large inventory of Science Tutorials. There are two fundamental definitions. have a size or magnitude. but also they have associated with them the idea of a direction. Panel 2 . and the length of the arrow defines the vector's magnitude. acceleration. If we denote one end of the arrow by the origin O and the tip of the arrow by Q. force. . The operation of addition. subtraction and multiplication of ordinary algebra can be extended to vectors with some new definitions and a few new rules. That is the vector. The line and arrow above the Q are there to indicate that the symbol represents a vector. In this tutorial we will examine some of the elementary ideas concerning vectors. their directions are exactly opposite. A and B are equal if they have the same magnitude and direction. Even though their lengths are identical. And it is obviously more convenient to represent both quantities by just one symbol. Graphically. The reason for this introduction to vectors is that many concepts in science. defining the direction. in fact OQ = -QO. . #1 Two vectors. for example. Then the vector may be represented algebraically by OQ. a vector is represented by an arrow. Another notation is boldface type as: Q. The magnitude of a vector is denoted by absolute value signs around the vector symbol: magnitude of Q = |Q|. displacement. Note. as shown in Panel 2. velocity.This Vector tutorial has been selected by PSIgate as a recommended teaching tool. regardless of whether they have the same initial points. that since a direction is implied.

where B has the same direction as A but the magnitude is changed. is another vector. A . as shown in Panel 3. mass and temperature.#2 A vector having the same magnitude as A but in the opposite direction to A is denoted by -A . speed.Thus vector subtraction can be represented as a vector addition. Panel 4 The operation of vector addition as described here can be written as C = A + B This would be a good place to try this simulation on the graphical addition of vectors. A and B. and then draw a line from the initial point of A to the final point of -B to give the difference C. The difference of two vectors. The product of a scalar. This is sometines referred to as the "Tip-to-Tail" method. For example. |B| = m|A|. The graphical representation is shown in Panel 5. The sum of two vectors. is a vector C. Panel 5 Any quantity which has a magnitude but no direction associated with it is called a "scalar". Inspection of the graphical representation shows that we place the initial point of the vector -B on the final point the vector A . is a vector C that is. times a vector A . m say.B or C = A + (-B). Panel 3 We can now define vector addition. . C = A . B. which is obtained by placing the initial point of B on the final point of A. as illustrated in Panel 4. Vector subtraction is defined in the following way. that is. and then drawing a line from the initial point of A to the final point of B .B . Use the "BACK" buttion to return to this point.

y)Cartesian Coordinate System. for example quantity is read as "a hat" or "a unit". If we add A and B we get a vector E. Distributive Law: m(A + B) = mA + mB These laws allow the manipulation of vector quantities in much the same way as ordinary algebraic equations. Panel 6 Replacing E with (A + B) and F with (B + C). we get F .The .Many of the laws of ordinary algebra hold also for vector algebra. And similarly if B is added to C . Stop now and make sure that you follow the above proof." A unit vector is one which has a magnitude of 1 and is often indicated by putting a hat (or circumflex) on top of the vector symbol. as shown in Panel 7. Commutative Law for Multiplication: mA = Am Associative Law for Multiplication: (m + n)A = mA + nA. Now D = E + C = A + F. These laws are: Commutative Law for Addition: A + B = B + A Associative Law for Addition: A + (B + C) = (A + B) + C The verification of the Associative law is shown in Panel 6. . we get (A +B) + C = A + (B + C) and we see that the law is verified. Vectors can be related to the basic coordinate systems which we use by the introduction of what we call "unit vectors. where m and n are two different scalars. Let us consider the two-dimensional (or x.

The actual operation implied by this is shown in Panel 9. as or Panel 8 The vector A can be represented algebraically by A = Ax + Ay. Any twodimensional vector can now be represented by employing multiples of the unit vectors. Remember (or ) and (or ) have a magnitude of 1 so they do not alter the length of the vector.Panel 7 We can define a unit vector in the x-direction by it is sometimes denoted by . they only give it its direction. Panel 9 The breaking up of a vector into it's component parts is known as resolving a vector. Similarly in the ydirection we use or sometimes . illustrated in Panel 8. Notice that the representation of A by it's components. Depending on the orientation of the coordinate system with respect to the vector in question. It is perhaps easier to understand this by having a look at an example. Where Ax and Ay are vectors in the x and y directions. If Ax and Ay are the magnitudes of Ax and Ay. and . it is possible to have more than one set of components. then Ax vector components of A in the x and y directions respectively. Ax and Ay is not unique. and Ay are the .

-Fx' equal to the mass times the acceleration. placed on a smooth inclined plane. . makes the determination of the length of the vector quite simple and straight forward. the vector F can be written as F = -Fy .Consider an object of mass. if you wish to determine the acceleration of the block down the plane. then you will need the component of the force which acts down the plane. as shown in Panel 10. The gravitational force acting on the object is F = mg where g is the acceleration due to gravity. For example. but in the primed coordinate system F = -Fx' + Fy' . To illustrate this let us consider an example. which would be The breaking up of a vector into it's components. M. Since A = Ax For example . The resolution of a vector into it's components can be used in the addition and subtraction of vectors. That is. what is the sum of the following three vectors? + Ay then using Pythagorus' Theorem . Panel 10 In the unprimed coordinate system. Which representation to use will depend on the particular problem that you are faced with.

what are Ax and Ay? Panel 12 From elementary trigonometry we have. From these you will need to calculate the Cartesian components. Let us assume that the magnitude of A and the angleθ are given. that cosθ = Ax/|A| therefore Ax = |A| cos θ. Until now. what we wish to know is. The situation is illustrated in Panel 12.By resolving each of these three vectors into their components we see that the result is Panel 11. the magnitude of the vector and you will also know the direction of the vector. and similarly Ay = |A| cos(90 . an x-y coordinate system. D x = A x + B x + Cx D y = A y + B y + Cy Panel 11 Now you should use this simulation to study the very important topic of the algebraic addition of vectors. the coordinate axes. the x and y components. that is. that is. Very often in vector problems you will know the length. or referred to. Any of the vectors used in this frame of reference were directed along. Use the "BACK" buttion to return to this point. that is. . However there is another coordinate system which is very often encountered and that is the Polar Coordinate System.θ) = |A| sinθ. we have discussed vectors in terms of a Cartesian.

which results in a scalar. the position of the dot is specified by it's distance from the origin. Panel 15 The multiplication of two vectors. Panel 14 These relationships are given in Panel 15. We require that the unit vectors be perpendicular to one another. For this reason there are two types of vector multiplication. First. And secondly. which results in a vector. . in the sense that there is a question as to whether the product will be a vector or not. In Panel 14. and that one unit vector be in the direction of increasing r. the scalar or dot product of two vectors. It is clear that there must be a relation between these unit vectors and those of the Cartesian system. and that the other is in the direction of increasing θ. is not uniquely defined. In Panel 13. The quantities r and θ are known as the Polar Coordinates of the Panel 13 point. and the position of the line is at some angle θ. the vector or cross product of two vectors. we have drawn these two unit vectors with the symbols and . that is r.In Polar coordinates one specifies the length of the line and it's orientation with respect to some fixed line. It is possible to define fundamental unit vectors in the Polar Coordinate system in much the same way as for Cartesian coordinates. from a fixed line as indicated.

since the angle between a vector and itself is 0 . that is. not a vector. Panel 16 Note that the result of a dot product is a scalar. we can use the information to work out the scalar product. in terms of and . . If. required a knowledge of the magnitude of A and B . . is defined as the product of the magnitudes of the vectors times the cosine of the angle between them. A and B denoted by A·B. as well as the angle between the two vectors. as illustrated in Panel 16. if A·B = 0 and neither the magnitude of A nor B is 0. . . The rules for scalar products are given in the following list. Alternatively. without having to determine the angle between the vectors. since the angle between and is 90º and the cosine of In general then. And in particular we have and the cosine of 0 is 1. If we are given the vectors in terms of a Cartesian representation. The scalar product of two vectors. we have 90º is 0. then A and B must be perpendicular. The definition of the scalar product given earlier.In this tutorial we shall discuss only the scalar or dot product.

a sound grasp of the ideas presented in this tutorial are absolutely essential for further progress in vector analysis. then at least your mistakes will be uncommon. Abigail Franklin. 1x+y=x1+y. (x+y)2=x2+y2 . 1x+y=x1+y1.then Because the other terms involved. Others involve common misunderstandings about various aspects of calculus. and . as we saw earlier. Let us do an example. If you can avoid these. we have concentrated on fundamentals and have restricted ourselves to the discussion of vectors in just two dimensions. MISTAKE! Powers don't behave this way. Most of the mistakes that occur repeatedly involve algebra. They can be avoided by being careful and checking your work. MISTAKE! . Algebra Review The material in this tutorial is reprinted with permission of the authors and publisher of How to Ace Calculus by Colin Adams. Nevertheless. . Consider two vectors. But . and Joel Hass. This concludes our survey of the elementary properties of vectors. The correct way to expand this expression gives (x+y)2=x2+2xy+y2 2. the angle between these two vectors? . MISTAKE! The rule for adding fractions gives x1+y1=xyx+y 3. Here we will list some of the most common mistakes that we see on exams. 1. rather than calculus. Now what is From the definition of scalar products we have .

MISTAKE! There is no simplified way to write 5. ax=bx therefore a=b. For example 2x=3x forces x=0. The function sin2x is NOT sin2 multiplied by x. This is true when k is a POSITIVE constant. Forgetting to simplify fractions in limits: MISTAKE! It is not correct to say limx 1x−1x2−1=00 and therefore the limit is undefined. limx 1x−1x2−1=limx 1x−1(x+1) (x−1)=limx 7. anyway. x+y . it is a BIG WARNING SIGN that says YOU HAVE MORE WORK TO DO! In this case. It can be avoided by careful handwriting or frequent use of parentheses.This very common error comes from carelessness about what's in the denominator. MISTAKE! The correct answer is 2xln2. If k is zero all bets are off. 4. 8. You just have to live with it as is. . The correct answer is ddx 11. Even worse would be to cancel the zeroes and say the limit equals one. MISTAKE! You can only cancel terms in the numerator and denominator of a fraction if they are not inside anything else and are just multiplying the rest of the numerator and denominator. MISTAKE! x y so kx ky where k is a constant. if x y then −x −y. MISTAKE! This is a more subtle mistake. The cancellation is correct IF x is not 0. 6. If the fraction had been written as xsin(2x) it would be harder to make such an error. You cannot cancel the x=0 and conclude that 2=3. Not in this universe. For example. MISTAKE! This is a typical example of the kind of mistakes made when applying the chain rule. ddx 2x =x2x−1 . Any time you get 00 for a limit. x+y= x+ y . 10. ddx sin(x2+1) =cos(2x) . The power rule only applies if the base is a variable and the exponent is a constant. If k is negative you need to reverse the inequality. 1x+1=2 sin2x x=sin2. ddx sin(x2+1) =cos(x2+1) 2x MISTAKE! sin(x2+1) =cos(x2+1)+sin(2x) . as in x3. 9.

18. So e =0 and ddx sin 2 =0 as well. 12. MISTAKE! 16. Extremely common error costing students over 10 million points a year on exams around the world. The correct answer is +C as can be found by u-substitution with u=cosx. Instead. Picky profs penalize points pedantically. Forgetting to simplify: MISTAKE! tanxdx=ln secx . ddx tanx =sec2x . 15. MISTAKE! The quantity ln3 is a constant. MISTAKE! It's the other way around. so ddx ddx ln3 =0 . 13. MISTAKE! The answer should be −sinx. This time the product rule has been used in a setting where the chain rule was the way to go. The power rule for integration does not apply to x−1. ddx fg =g2fg −gf . The same is true for ALL constants. ddx cosx =sinx . MISTAKE! This is backwards! It should be ddx 14.Another common way in which the chain rule is misapplied. MISTAKE! The correct answer is xdx=2x2+C . xdx=2x2 . x1dx=0x0+C . 17. x1dx=ln x +C tanxdx=sec2x+C . ddx fg =g2gf −fg ln3 =31 .