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3.

VECTOR DIFFERENTIATION

3.1 Ordinary derivatives of vectors

Let R(u)  R1 (u)iˆ  R2 (u) ˆj  R3 (u)kˆ be a vector depending on a single scalar

variable u where R1 (u), R2 (u), R3 (u) are supposed to be continuous in a

specified interval, then,

R R (u  u  R (u )

u u

Where u denotes an increment in u

The ordinary derivative of the vector R (u ) with respect to the scalar u is

given by

dR  R   R(u  u )  R(u ) 
 lim    lim   If the limit exists.
du u  0
 u  u  0
 u

Notes By JD Madasi
dR
Since is itself a vector depending on u , we can consider its derivative
du

d 2R
with respect to u .If this derivative exist it is denoted by .In like
du 2

manner higher order derivatives are described.

3.2 Properties of vector derivatives

If u , v are differentiable vector functions of scalar a scalar u , and  is

differentiable scalar function of u , then

d du dv
(i) u  v   
dt dt dt

d du
(ii)  cu   c where c is a constant
dt dt

d du d
(iii)  u     u where  is a scalar function
dt dt dt

d du dv
(iv) u  v   u    v
dt dt dt

d dv du
(v) u  v   u    v
dt dt dt

Notes By JD Madasi
Example

Find the velocity and acceleration of a particle which moves along the

curve x  2sin 3t , y  2 cos 3t , z  8t at any time t. Find the magnitude of

velocity and acceleration.

Solution:

From the values given we have the displacement r  2sin 3tiˆ  cos 3tjˆ  8tkˆ

By differentiating r with respect to t we get

dr
 6 cos 3tiˆ  6sin 3tjˆ  8kˆ which is the velocity of a particle
dt

Hence

v  6 cos 3tiˆ  6sin 3tjˆ  8kˆ

Where v is the velocity in displacement r .

In finding acceleration, it is easier to get by taking

dv
a  a  18sin 3tiˆ  18sin 3tjˆ
dt

Notes By JD Madasi
Where a is the acceleration for the velocity v

Having the values of r and v , we thus determine the magnitude of

velocity as

v   6cos3t    6sin 3t   82  10
2 2
and magnitude of

acceleration is

a   18sin 3t    18cos3t   18
2 2

Exercise 3

1. (a) Define the velocity and acceleration of a particle covered a

displacement of

𝑟⃗(𝑡) = 𝑥⃗(𝑡)𝑖 + 𝑦⃗(𝑡)𝑗 + 𝑧⃗(𝑡)𝑘

(b) A particle moves along a curve whose curve parametric

equations are

𝑥 = 𝑒 −𝑡 , 𝑦 = 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑡, 𝑧 = 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑡

Notes By JD Madasi
` Determine its velocity and acceleration at any time and t=0

2. If 𝐴⃗ = 5𝑖 + 4𝑡𝑗 − 5𝑡 2 𝑘 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐵
⃗⃗=𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑖 + 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑡𝑗 Find

𝑑 𝑑 𝑑 𝑑
(a) (𝐴⃗·𝐵
⃗⃗) (b) ⃗⃗˄𝐵
(𝐵 ⃗⃗) (c) ⃗⃗·𝐵
(𝐵 ⃗⃗) + (𝐴⃗·𝐵
⃗⃗)
𝑑𝑡 𝑑𝑡 𝑑𝑡 𝑑𝑡

3. If 𝑅(𝑢) = 𝑥(𝑢)𝑖 + 𝑦(𝑢)𝑗 + 𝑧(𝑢)𝑘 where 𝑥, 𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑧 are

𝑑𝑅 𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑦
differentiable function of a scalar 𝑢. Prove that = 𝑖+ 𝑗+
𝑑𝑢 𝑑𝑢 𝑑𝑢

𝑑𝑧
𝑘
𝑑𝑢

Notes By JD Madasi