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4. SCALAR (DOT) PRODUCT OF TWO VECTORS
1. The scalar product or (dot product) : The scalar product of two vectors a and b is a scalar and is
defined as the product of the magnitude of a and b and the cosine of the angle θ between them.
i.e., a . b =| a | . | b | .cosθ , 0 ≤ θ < π .
2. Two non zero vectors a and b are perpendicular if and only if their dot product is zero.
| a.b | (a . b )b
3. Projection of a and b is the orthogonal projection of a and b is or ( a .b̂)b̂ .
|b| | b |2
(a. b ) b
The component vector of a along b is or ( a .b̂)b̂ .
| b |2
(a . b ) b
The component vector of a perpendicular to b is a − .
| b |2
Note : The component vector of a along b is equal to the orthogonal projection of a on b .
4. If a = a1i + a 2 j + a 3 k , b = b1i + b 2 j + b 3 k , then
i) a . b = a1b1 + a 2 b 2 + a 3 b 3
ii) If θ is the angle between a and b , then cosθ =
a.b a 1b1 + a 2 b 2 + a 3 b 3
=
| a || b |
∑a . ∑b 2
1
2
1

sinθ = ∑
(a b − a b )
2 3 3 2
2
iii)
(∑ a )(∑ b ) 2
1
2
1

iv) a . b = b . a (dot product is commutative)
v) a .(- b ) = ( − a ).b = -( a . b )
vi) λ a .μ b = λμ( a . b ) = μ a .λ b
vii) a . a =| a | 2 = a 2
viii) ( a ± b ) 2 =| a | 2 + | b | 2 ±2 a . b
ix) ( a + b ) 2 = ( a − b ) 2 = 2( a 2 + b 2 ) and
( a + b ) 2 − ( a − b ) 2 = 4 a.b
x) ( a + b + c ) 2 =
a 2 + b 2 + c 2 + 2( a.b ) + 2( b.c ) + 2( c.a )
xi) a 2 − b 2 = ( a + b ).( a − b )
xii) a.( b + c ) = a.b + a.c , dot product is left distributive over vector addition.
xiii) ( a + b ).c = a.c + b.c , dot product is right distributive over vector addition.
5. For the unit orthognormal vectors i, j, k
i) i.i = j. j = k . k = 1
ii) i. j = j.k = k . i = 0
6. For any vector r, r = (r.i )i + (r. j) j + (r.k )k
7. Work done by a force F in displacing a particle from A to B is given by W = F.AB
8. If the length of the perpendicular from the origin be p ( > 0) and n̂ be the unit vector perpendicular
to the plane then the equation of the plane is r.n̂ = p .

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Scalar (dot) Product of Vectors
9. The vector equation of a plane through a point a and perpendicular to a unit vector n̂ is
(r − a ).n̂ = 0 .
10. If π1 and π2 be two planes whose equations are r1.m1 = q1, r2 .m2 = q 2 , then the angle between the
⎛ m .m ⎞
planes is Cos −1 ⎜⎜ 1 2
⎟⎟ .
⎝ | m1 | . | m 2 | ⎠
11. Perpendicular distance from the origin to the plane (r − a ).n̂ = 0 is a .n̂ , where a is the position
vector of a point in the plane and n̂ is the unit vector perpendicular to the plane.

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