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3D Vector Math

Definitions and Common Results

V2D::shdw : Symbol V2D appears in multiple contexts {RigidBodyDynamics`, Vector3d`};


definitions in context RigidBodyDynamics` may shadow or be shadowed by other definitions.
2 1 Vectors.nb

Vector in Cartesian Coordinates


A vector has components in the i, j, k coordinates


a {ax , ay , az } 1.1

The norm of a vector is its length:


Norm[a] a2 2 2
x + ay + az 1.2

A vector can be written as the product of a norm and unit vector


a ax ay az
, ,

Norm[a] a2x + a2y + a2z a2x + a2y + a2z a2x + a2y + a2z

a {ax , ay , az }


Norm[a] a2x + a2y + a2z

a u

a

Norm[a]

u
a Norm[a] a 1.3
1 Vectors.nb 3

i , j ,
k vectors
It is sometimes convenient to define unit vectors along the axes:


i {1, 0, 0}

j {0, 1, 0} 2.1

k {0, 0, 1}

In this way, we can define any vector as a weighted sum of these unit vectors


v i vx + j vy + k vz

v {1, 0, 0} vx + {0, 1, 0} vy + {0, 0, 1} vz


v {vx , vy , vz } 2.2
4 1 Vectors.nb

Visualisation

vx

vy

vz
1 Vectors.nb 5

Dot/Scalar product
Dot product of two vectors returns a scalar


a.b ax bx + ay by + az bz

The scalar is the product of the lengths and the cosine of the angle between:


a.b Cos Norm[a] Norm[b] 3.1
a,b

From (3.1), the dot product with a unit vector represents the projection of the other vector into the
direction of the unit vector


Norm[b] 1

a.b Cosa,b Norm[a]

From (3.1) the dot product with a normal vector results in zero


a,b
2

a.b 0 3.2

From (3.1) the dot product with parallel vector results in product of lengths.

a,b 0


a.b Norm[a] Norm[b] 3.3

From (3.1) the dot product with parallel unit vector results in length of vector


a,b 0, Norm[b] 1


a.b Norm[a] 3.4
6 1 Vectors.nb

Projection of Vectors

Consider that we wish to find a vector
c representing the projection of vector
a onto b . We know
that

uu

c a.b b 4.1

u

We can substitute for the unit vector b

u
b
b

Norm[b]

b
a. b
Norm[b]
c

Norm[b]

a.b b
c 4.2
Norm[b]2

The squared norm of a vector is the vector dotted with itself:

1 1


Norm[b]2 b.b

c a.bb

4.3
b.b


is a scaled version of b
We see that c , with factor a.b

b.b
1 Vectors.nb 7

Visualisation 2D

u
a

b

u u u

c =
a .b b
8 1 Vectors.nb

Exercise: Dot Product


A police officer with a laser speed gun is located at (5,3) in the x-y space. A car located at (50,5)
has a velocity vector (-15,-2).
a) What would be the speed measured by the police officer?
b) Generalise the result for any location of the car
1 Vectors.nb 9

Exercise: Dot Product


A link between two pinned (revolute) joints at locations (2,1) and (20,14) has a force vector of (-8,-2)
applied at one end.
a) What is the compressive component of the force?
b) What is the component of the force normal to the link?
10 1 Vectors.nb

Exercise: Dot Product


The mechanism shown below converts rotary to translatory motion.
Write a relationship between the velocity v and the angular speed when the sliding pin is located
at (-0.8, 0.5) relative to the centre of rotation.
1 Vectors.nb 11

Cross Product
Cross product of two vectors returns a vector

- az by + ay bz

ab az bx - ax bz 4.1
- ay bx + ax by

The cross product vector is normal to both original vectors and represents the area of the parallelo-
gram between the vectors.

u

a b Norm[a] Norm[b] Sin a b 4.2
a,b

From (4.2) the cross product with a normal vector results in vector with length of product


a,b
2

u
a b Norm[a] Norm[b] a b 4.3

From (4.2) the cross product with a parallel vector results in zero

a,b 0


ab 0 4.4

Cross product is anticommutative


ab -ba 4.5

Cross product is distributive over addition


a b + c a b + a c 4.6
12 1 Vectors.nb

Visualisation

ax , a y

az

bx , b y

bz
1 Vectors.nb 13

Exercise: Cross Product


A 4-bar linkage with parallel sides has two sides described by vectors (0.6,0.1) and (-0.3, 0.4).
What is the area within the 4-bar linkage?

Answer
The area (in consistent units) is given by the magnitude of the cross product of two adjacent sides of
the a parallelogram:

A Normv1 v2

v1 {0.6, 0.1, 0}, v2 {- 0.3, 0.4, 0}

A 0.27
14 1 Vectors.nb

Exercise: Cross Product


An axle lies between two bearings in 3-space located at (2,-1,-5) and (-3, 4, 8).
A flywheel of radius 0.8 is fixed to the axle and rotates with angular speed 38 rad/s.
Write an equation for the velocity of a point on the circumference of the flywheel.

Answer
The velocity is given by the cross product of angular velocity and radius vectors, where
r is defined
as displacement from a point on the axis of rotation to the circumference.


v r 19.1

The radius vector can be construed as a vector normal to the axis of rotation. We can construct a
normal vector using a cross product:

raz

r z] 19.2
Norm[a

where
a is the axis vector and
z is an arbitrary vector used to construct the normal.

Substituting values:

{0, 0, 1}, r 0.8, 38


a {2, - 1, - 5} - {- 3, 4, 8}, z 19.3


r (0.8 ({2, - 1, - 5} - {- 3, 4, 8}) {0, 0, 1}) /
Norm[({2, - 1, - 5} - {- 3, 4, 8}) {0, 0, 1}]


r {- 0.565685, - 0.565685, 0.} 19.4

The angular velocity vector is along the axle:


a


Norm[a]

(38 ({2, - 1, - 5} - {- 3, 4, 8})) / Norm[{2, - 1, - 5} - {- 3, 4, 8}]


{12.839, - 12.839, - 33.3814} 19.5

Substituting back into (19.1) using (19.5) and (19.4)


v {- 18.8834, 18.8834, - 14.5257} 19.6

Check the magnitude:


1 Vectors.nb 15

] r
Norm[v
{- 18.8834, 18.8834, - 14.5257}, r 0.8, 38
v

True
16 1 Vectors.nb

Exercise: Cross Product


A linkage has two pinned joints at (2, 4) and (11,6).
A force vector (-10,-6) is applied to the joint at (11,6).
What is the moment about the other pinned joint?

Answer
The moment can be found directly from the cross product:


M Fs 20.1

Where the displacement vector


s is from the point of application of the force to the centre of rotation.
In this case


F {- 10, - 6, 0}, s {2, 4, 0} - {11, 6, 0}

M {- 10, - 6, 0} ({2, 4, 0} - {11, 6, 0})

M {0, 0, - 34} 20.2

We can visualise this linkage:

link
M


F
1 Vectors.nb 17

Exercise: Cross Product


A point located at (3, 5, 2) spins around an axis through the origin with angular velocity (20,1, -8).
What is its velocity?

Answer
The velocity is the cross product of the angular velocity vector and the radius vector. The radius
vector is a displacement from a point on the axis of rotation to the point of interest.


v r 17.1

In this case:


{20, 1, - 8}, r {3, 5, 2}


v {42, - 64, 97} 17.2

Note that the cross product automatically takes into account the calculation of the perpendicular
distance from the axis of rotation to the point of interest.
18 1 Vectors.nb

Exercise: Cross Product


A point located at (3, 5, 2) spins around an axis through the point (1,1,2) with angular velocity (20,1,
-8). What is its velocity?

Answer
The velocity is the cross product of the angular velocity vector and the radius vector. The radius
vector is a displacement from a point on the axis of rotation to the point of interest.


v r 17.1

In this case we have to find the radius vector as a difference between two points.


{20, 1, - 8}, r {3, 5, 2} - {1, 1, 2}


v {32, - 16, 78} 17.2
1 Vectors.nb 19

Triple Products
Scalar Triple Product
Scalar triple product is the volume of the parallelepiped having the three vectors for edges.
It is also useful for rotating a vector out of a cross product:


a.b c c.a b 5.1


a.b c b.c a 5.2

Note the standard order of operations: The cross product is performed first.

Vector Triple Product


Vector triple product allows the decomposition of successive cross products to an algebraic sum of
vectors


a b c a.c b - a.b c 5.3
20 1 Vectors.nb

Solutions to Vector Equations


Vector equations cannot be divided by vector terms. We cannot divide by b to solve for c in either
of the following two cases:


a bc 7.1


d b.c 7.2

In each case, if one vector, say


c is completely unknown, then the equation is underdetermined.

Dot Product
In the case of the dot product, this is readily apparent by noting that the dot product will result in a
scalar equation, and we are unable to solve for the individual components.

d bx cx + by cy + bz cz 7.3

We have one equation and three unknown components of c.

Cross Product

In the case of the cross product, we note that two vectors b and
c define a plane, so that it will
always be possible to select a set of cartesian coordinates such that the third coordinate is zero for
both these two vectors:

- bz cy + by cz

a bz cx - bx cz
- by cx + bx cy

{bz 0, cz 0}
0
0
a 7.3
- by cx + bx cy

Again, only one non-trivial equation is represented by the cross product, and we cannot solve for the
individual components. However, note that unlike the dot product, here we have one equation, and
only two unknown components of c.
1 Vectors.nb 21

Pythagoras Theorem in Vectors


22 1 Vectors.nb

Dot Product Division with Known Direction


Consider (7.2) reproduced below. Lets say we have a dot product with d and b known and wish to
find c.
Note that there are an infinite number of vectors c that would solve the equation, with different
lengths and angles from b.


d b.c

Starting with this, if we know the direction of vector c as a unit vector we can solve for the magnitude


d b.c
u

d b. c c

u

d c b.c

c d u 9.1
b.c

u

c b


c
1 Vectors.nb 23

Dot Product Division with Known Magnitude



Consider the situation where we find components of
c in the b and normal directions:

cb

c

cb

We know from previously that

u u

c.b b
cb
u u

b.b
1
1
u u

b.b
uu

cb c.b b 18.1

We also know from Pythagoras theorem that:

c2 c2b + c2b
u

cb c.b
u
2
c2 c.b + c2
b 18.2

Solving for the magntiude of the perpendicular component we get:


24 1 Vectors.nb

u
2
cb c2 - c.b 18.3

We have a choice regarding the direction of this component of the vector, with the constraint that it

must be perpendicular to b. We can construct this using a cross product with any other non-parallel
:
vector, a

u
cb cb a b 18.4

vector therefore becomes:


The c


c cb + cb
u u u

c c.b b + cb a b

uu u u
2
c c.b b + c2 - c.b ab 18.5

Now we know the dot product, so this becomes:

d u

c.b
b
u
u
2
c db + c2 - d a b

18.6
b b2

We can make some replacements:

u
b 1 1
b ,
b b 2
b.b
u
db d2
c + c2 - ab

b.b b.b
1 Vectors.nb 25

26 1 Vectors.nb

Dot Product Division with Known Magnitude


(Alternative Derivation)
1 Vectors.nb 27

Exercise: Division of Dot Product with known direction


A police officer with a laser speed gun is located at (5,3) in the x-y space. A car located at (50,5)
and travelling along a road with a direction along (-2, 0.8). The police officer measures a speed of
95 km/hr.
What is the actual speed of the car in km/hr?

Answer
We can use result (9.1)

d
c
u

b.c

In this case, the known speed is d, which is the projected speed towards the officer

95 1000
d
60 60

d 26.3889 14.1


The vector b will be a unit vector pointing from the car to the officer:

u

bb

c ud 14.2
u
b.c

The unit vector b is found from the geometry:

b 5 - 50

3 5

b {- 45, - 2}
u 45 2

b - ,-
2029 2029
u

b {- 0.999014, - 0.0444006} 14.3

u
The unit vector
c points along the road:


c {- 2, 0.8}
u

c {- 0.928477, 0.371391} 14.4

Substituting all this back into (14.2)


28 1 Vectors.nb

d
c
u u

b.c
u u

d 26.3889, b {- 0.999014, - 0.0444006}, c {- 0.928477, 0.371391}

c 28.9647 14.5

Converting to kilometers per hour:

c 104.273
1 Vectors.nb 29

Exercise: Division of Dot Product with known magnitude


A force of 120 N is applied to the end of a cantilever beam reaching between coordinates (0,0) and
(2,0.5). The beam has a cross section of 20cm2 . The resulting compressive stress is measured as
15 kPa.
a) What is the force vector if it lies in the vertical plane and points upwards?
b) What is the force vector if it lies in the vertical plane and points downwards?

Answer

a) For an upwards force


First calculate the compressive force:

Fc A
20
15 000, A
1002

Fc 30 15.1


We wish to apply the result (9.6), where
c is the force to be found, b is a vector along the beam, d is
u

the component of the force along the beam, and a b is a unit normal to b.

u u

db b2 c2 - d2 a b
c +
b b
u u u

c F, d Fc , c F, a b b
z
u u
u


bz b2 F2 -F2
F c + Fc b
15.2
b b
u

We can calculate b and b (note we are using 3-element vectors)


b {0, 0, 0} - {2, 0.5, 0}

b {- 2, - 0.5, 0} 15.3


b Norm[b]

b 2.06155 15.4

u

b {- 0.970143, - 0.242536, 0.} 15.5

Substituting into (15.2) using the known values:


30 1 Vectors.nb

u

b 2.06155, b {- 0.970143, - 0.242536, 0.}, 15.6
u

Fc 30, F 120, z {0, 0, 1}


F {- 43.0071, 112.029, 0.} 15.7

b) For a downwards force


The equation is the same, except that the normal vector we choose will point in the opposite direc-
tion. So (15.2) becomes:

u u u
u

b
z
zb
u u u


zb b2 F2 -F2
F c + Fc b
15.8
b b

Substituting using the known values as given in (15.6)


F {14.7718, - 119.087, 0.} 15.9

Visualising these results:

Fup

cantilever

beam

built in

Fdown
1 Vectors.nb 31

Cross Product Division with known angle



If we have a cross product with
a and b known and wish to find
c:


a bc 22.1

We know that c must lie in the plane perpendicular to a . Thus, it can be decomposed into compo-

nents parallel and perpendicular to b within this plane.


c cb + cb

u u
c cb cb + cb cb 22.2
32 1 Vectors.nb

We know the magnitude of the cross product and can solve for the magnitude of
c


Normb c b c Sin[]

Normb c a

a b c Sin[]

c a Csc[] 22.3
b

The length of the adjacent and opposite of the triangle having c as hypotenuse are then:

{cb c Cos[], cb c Sin[]}

cb a Cot[] , cb a 22.4
b b

Substituting into our previous expression for


c:

u u
a cb
+ a Cot[] cb

c 22.5
b b


The perpendicular unit vector can be found by cross-product of
a and b , which we know are
perpendicular:

u u

cb a b

u ab
cb

Norma b

Norma b a b
u
cb ab 22.6
ab

We can make the following replacements:


u b u ab
cb , cb
b ab

ab a Cot[] b
c +
b2 b2

ab a Cot[] b
c + 22.7
b.b b.b

Visualisation
Note that the vector
c stays in the quadrants required to ensure the correct direction of the cross
product, even for >
1 Vectors.nb 33

34 1 Vectors.nb

Cross Product Division with known normal vector



If we have a cross product with
a and b known and wish to find
c:


a bc 23.1

which is normal to
Let us assume now that we know a vector n c.
We can cross product both sides as follows:


a n b c n 23.2

Expanding the vector triple product:


a n - n.c b + n.b c 23.3

is perpendicular to
However, because n c


n.c 0


a n n.b c 23.4

:
We can solve this for c


an
c 23.5
n.b

Note that in choosing



n , it cannot be normal to b, or (8.6) will result in division by zero.


c , b normal

In many cases, we know that
c and b are normal:


ab
c 23.6
b.b
1 Vectors.nb 35

Visualisation

nx , n y
36 1 Vectors.nb

Cross Product Division with known magnitude



If we have a cross product with
a and b known and wish to find
c:


a bc 24.1

In this case we assume we know the magnitude of c but not the direction.

We have a previous result for this, if the angle betweeen b and c is known:


ab a Cot[] b
c + 24.2
b.b b.b

From trignometry, with reference to the figure above:

Cot[] cb 24.3
cb

From pythagoras:

cb c2 - c2b

c2 -c2
b
Cot[] 24.4
cb

Now we also know that


1 Vectors.nb 37

cb c Sin[] 24.5

But from the definition of cross product, we can make the substitution

a
c Sin[]
b

cb a 24.6
b

Substituting for the perpendicular length in our equation for Cot[] gives

- ab2 + c2
2
b
Cot[]
a

2 2 2
Cot[] -a +b c 24.7
a

and replacing squared lengths by dot product of vectors


Substituting into our original equation for c
gives:

2 2 2
a b b - a + b c
c +

b.b b.b

a2 a.a, b2 b.b


.a
+c2 b.b
b -a
ab
c + 24.8
b.b b.b

b
We see that this is a vector with components in the b and a directions.

Visualisation
Interaction with the system below (with fixed length can only be calculated
a ) will show that c
.
sufficiently large magnitude of b and c
38 1 Vectors.nb

bx , b y


|c|
1 Vectors.nb 39

Vector Division: Cross Product (Alternative Derivation)


40 1 Vectors.nb

Exercise: Division of Cross Product


A downwards force is applied to the top end of a 5 m high vertical pillar. The resulting moment at the
base is represented by the vector (20,2,0). If the force applied at an angle of 15 to vertical, deter-
mine the force vector.

Answer
We know the moment is the cross product of the force and displacement from application of force to
point of the moment:


M Fd 16.1


We want to get this into the form
a b c with unknown c . We can do this by inverting the direc-

tion of b:


-M dF 16.2


We can now use result (8.51) to find F

Cot Norm[a
ab b,c
]b
c +

b.b b.b

a - M, b d, c F


-Md Cot Norm-M d
F + d,F
16.3
d.d d.d

Substituting known values:


d,F 15 , M {20, 2, 0}, d {0, 0, - 5}

2 2
F , - 4, - 101 2 + 3
5 5

F {0.4, - 4., - 15.0027} 16.4
1 Vectors.nb 41

Visualisation
42 1 Vectors.nb

Exercise: Division of Cross Product


A laser vibrometer measures the velocity of a point on the circumference of a large wheel as (120,
121
30, 2) m/s. The point is located at a displacement of -7, 5
, 57 from the centre of the wheel.
What is the angular velocity in terms of magnitude and direction?

Answer
For a radius vector defined from the axis of rotation to the point of interest, we know that:


-
v r 18.1

For an expression of the form


a bc

we can apply (8.8) to find an unknown


c, given that the radius, angular velocity and velocity vectors
are all normal to each other.


ab
c

b.b

, b
c , a - v r

)r
(-v
18.2
r.r

Substituting values


{120, 30, 2}, r 121
v - 7, , 57
5

- 41 540 , 171 350 , - 77 850



18.3
97 091 97 091 97 091

{- 0.427846, 1.76484, - 0.801825}

Calculating the magnitude and direction:

u

Norm[],

Norm[]
u

1.9851, {- 0.215528, 0.889042, - 0.403921} 18.4

We can check this result from (18.1)


1 Vectors.nb 43


-
v r

121 41 540 171 350 77 850


r - 7, , 57, - , ,-
5 97 091 97 091 97 091
-
v {- 120, - 30, - 2}
44 1 Vectors.nb

Vector Division (Vector Triple Product)


In some cases, we have an equation with terms in the form


a b c b
10.1
a b c b

We may expand out the triple product:


a - b.c b + b.b c
10.2
a - b.c b + b.b c

If vectors b and c are perpendicular the first term on the right hand side reduces to zero, so we can
solve for
c


a b.b c

c a

10.3
b.b
1 Vectors.nb 45

Exercise: Division of Triple Product


A three-axis accelerometer mounted on a disk spinning with constant angular speed measures an
acceleration vector (-1, -2, 2). If the angular speed is 20 rad/s about an axis (1, 2, 3) through the
origin, what is the position of the accelerometer?

Answer
The acceleration under these conditions is given by:


a r 21.1

where
r is a radius vector pointing from the accelerometer towards the centre of rotation.
We can apply (10.3) as
r and are normal to each other:


a
c

b.b

c r, b

r a

21.2
.

Substituting known values:

2 2 2
a {- 1, - 2, 2}, 10 , 20 , 30
7 7 7

r - 1 , - 1 , 1

21.3
400 200 200

The position is given by the subtraction of this vector from the origin:


s -r

s 1 , 1
,- 1

21.4
400 200 200
46 1 Vectors.nb

Simultaneous Cross Product Equations (Advanced)


1 Vectors.nb 47

Vector Differentiation
A vector may be specified as a function of a parameter, t:


v[t] {vx [t], vy [t], vz [t]} 22.1

Differentiation of the vector can be performed by differentiation of its component terms:


v [t] {vx [t], vy [t], vz [t]} 22.2

The vector may also be specified as a product of magnitude and direction, both of which may
depend on the parameter

u

v[t] v[t] v [t] 22.3

We may differentiate this using the product rule:

u
u

v [t] v [t] v [t] + v[t] v [t] 22.4

The first addend on the right hand side represents change in length of the vector, without change in
direction.
The second addend on the right hand side represents change in direction, without change in length.
Note that these two addends are perpendicular vectors.
48 1 Vectors.nb

Unit Vector Differentiation


It is not immediately obvious, but the differential of a unit vector is perpendicular to the original
vector. This can be thought of as the tangent vector being perpendicular to a radius vector of unit
length, that is only changing direction.


u + u

u

Proof
Consider an arbitrary unit vector, by components

u

v[t] vx [t] vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 , 23.1
vy [t] vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 ,
vz [t] vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2

Differentiating this gives:


1 Vectors.nb 49

v [t] vx [t] vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 - 23.2


(vx [t] (2 vx [t] vx [t] + 2 vy [t] vy [t] + 2 vz [t] vz [t]))
2 vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 3/2 ,
vy [t] vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 -
(vy [t] (2 vx [t] vx [t] + 2 vy [t] vy [t] + 2 vz [t] vz [t]))
2 vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 3/2 ,
vz [t] vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 -
(vz [t] (2 vx [t] vx [t] + 2 vy [t] vy [t] + 2 vz [t] vz [t]))
2 vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 3/2

Simplifying (23.2)

v [t] vy [t]2 vx [t] - vx [t] vy [t] vy [t] + 23.3


vz [t] (vz [t] vx [t] - vx [t] vz [t])
vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 3/2 , - vx [t] vy [t] vx [t] +
vx [t]2 vy [t] + vz [t] (vz [t] vy [t] - vy [t] vz [t])
vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 3/2 , - vx [t] vz [t] vx [t] +
vx [t]2 vz [t] + vy [t] (- vz [t] vy [t] + vy [t] vz [t])
vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 3/2

We can demonstrate perpendicularity by taking the dot product:

u
u

v[t].v [t] vx [t] vy [t]2 vx [t] - 23.4
vx [t] vy [t] vy [t] + vz [t] (vz [t] vx [t] - vx [t] vz [t])
vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 2 + vy [t] - vx [t] vy [t] vx [t] +
vx [t]2 vy [t] + vz [t] (vz [t] vy [t] - vy [t] vz [t])
vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 2 + vz [t] - vx [t] vz [t] vx [t] +
vx [t]2 vz [t] + vy [t] (- vz [t] vy [t] + vy [t] vz [t])
vx [t]2 + vy [t]2 + vz [t]2 2

Simplifying this:

u
u

v[t].v [t] 0 23.5
50 1 Vectors.nb

Vector Product Differentiation


Differentiation of a dot or cross product of vectors can be expanded using the product rule in a
manner analogous to multiplication of scalar functions:


a[t].b[t] a[t].b [t] + a [t].b[t] 11.1


a[t] b[t] a[t] b [t] + a [t] b[t] 11.2
1 Vectors.nb 51

Sine Rule in Vectors (Advanced)


52 1 Vectors.nb

Summary of Results
Vector written as product of magnitude scalar and unit-vector direction

u

a Norm[a] a

Dot Products
Dot product in terms of angle between vectors


a.b Cosa,b Norm[a] Norm[b]

Dot product of two normal vectors


a.b 0

Dot product of two parallel vectors


a.b Norm[a] Norm[b]

Dot product with a unit vector, b


a.b Norm[a]

Cross Products
Cross product in terms of angle between vectors

u

a b Norm[a] Norm[b] Sina,b a b

Cross product of normal vectors

u
a b Norm[a] Norm[b] a b

Cross product of parallel vectors


ab 0

Cross product is anticummutative


ab -ba

Cross product is distributive over addition


a b + c a b + a c
1 Vectors.nb 53

Scalar Triple Product Identity


a.b c c.a b

a.b c b.c a

Vector Triple Product Expansion


a b c a.c b - a.b c

Pythagoras Theorem

Sine Rule

Dot Product Division


For a dot product where d is known, and we wish to solve for
c


d b.c
u
If direction of
c is known as c

d
c
u

b.c

If magnitude of
c is known as c

u u

db b2 c2 - d2 a b
c +
b b
u

where the vector a b is a vector normal to b but requires a further constraint

Cross Product Division


For a cross product where
a is known, and we wish to solve for c


a bc

If direction is known as an angle between b and
c


Cot Norm[a
ab b,c
]b
c +

b.b b.b

If direction is known as a normal


n to unknown vector c
54 1 Vectors.nb


an
c

n.b

If b and
c are known to be normal


ab
c

b.b

If the magnitude of
c is known


ab - a.a + b.b Norm[c]2 b
c +

b.b b.b

Vector Triple Product Division


For a vector triple product in either of the forms


a b c b

a b c b


If b and
c are known to be normal


a
c

b.b

Differentiation
Differentiation of a vector by components


v [t] {vx [t], vy [t], vz [t]}

Differentiation of a vector by magnitude and direction

u u

v [t] v
[t] v [t] + v[t] v [t]

Differentiation of a dot product


a[t].b[t] a[t].b [t] + a [t].b[t]

Differentiation of a cross product


a[t] b[t] a[t] b [t] + a [t] b[t]