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You are on page 1of 6

**4 Calculating Force Vectors
**

Introduction

If guy wires are used to stabilize a tower, what is the minimum number of wires

necessary? Imagine what would happen if you only used one or two wires. The guy

wires work together so that the tower does not fall in any direction. As long as there

are no external forces and the wires are equally spaced, each of the wires should be

experiencing an equal amount of tension. The tension in each guy wire can be

expressed as a vector force. It is important that values are given for each force so

that engineers can make informed decisions about the necessary strength of guy

wires and their support mechanisms.

Equipment

Calculator

Procedure

In this activity you will calculate force vectors.

1. What is the magnitude of vector A?

5.0N

2. What is the direction of vector A relative to the

negative y-axis?

30% counterclockwise from the negative y-axis

4. What is the sense of vector A?

Downwards and to the right

6. Sketch vector A with its x and y components (Solve for component forces with a

precision of 0.0)

**© 2012 Project Lead The Way, Inc.
**

Principles of Engineering Activity 2.1.4 Calculating Force Vectors – Page 1

**© 2012 Project Lead The Way, Inc.
**

Principles of Engineering Activity 2.1.4 Calculating Force Vectors – Page 2

**7. What is the magnitude of vector B?
**

5.0N

8. What is the direction of vector B relative to the

negative y-axis?

30% clockwise from negative y-axis

9. What is the sense of vector B?

Downwards and to the left

10. Sketch vector B with its x and y components (Solve for component forces with a

precision of 0.0)

A picture is hung from a nail with wire. The nail supports two forces A = 5N and B = 5N.

**© 2012 Project Lead The Way, Inc.
**

Principles of Engineering Activity 2.1.4 Calculating Force Vectors – Page 3

**11. Draw a free body diagram of the nail, illustrating the x and y components of
**

vector A and B. (Solve for component forces with a precision of 0.0)

**12. Calculate the x and y components of the resultant force (R) by summing the x
**

and y components of vectors A and B.

Fx = FAx + FBx

Fy = FAy +FBy

**© 2012 Project Lead The Way, Inc.
**

Principles of Engineering Activity 2.1.4 Calculating Force Vectors – Page 4

**An eye screw is experiencing two tension forces G=100N
**

and H=50N.

13. Sketch vector G with its x and y components.

(Solve for component forces with a precision of 0.0)

**15. Sketch vector H with its x and y components. (Solve for component forces with
**

a precision of 0.0)

**16. Calculate the sum of the x and y components of vectors G and H. (precision of
**

0.0)

Fx = FGx + FHx

Fy = FGy + FHy

**17. If you know the components of a vector, what mathematical relationship can be
**

used to find the magnitude of the vector?

**18. Sketch the resultant force (R) and calculate the magnitude and angle of the
**

vector. (precision 0.0)

**© 2012 Project Lead The Way, Inc.
**

Principles of Engineering Activity 2.1.4 Calculating Force Vectors – Page 5

Conclusion

1. You and someone else are pulling with forces of equal magnitude. You each pulling

at an angle of 25° from the X axis (see top view below). How could you reduce the

amount of force each of you must exert?

**2. You and someone else are pulling on an object with forces of 50N and 75N
**

respectively. If you are allowed to pull in any direction, what range of values is

possible for the magnitude of the resultant force?

**© 2012 Project Lead The Way, Inc.
**

Principles of Engineering Activity 2.1.4 Calculating Force Vectors – Page 6

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