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Resolution of Vectors & Vector Addition

If there is a force (F) acting at an angle Ɵ, we can divide the force into 2 components: the horizontal component (Fx)
and vertical component (Fy).

Fx Fy Fy
cos Ɵ = sin Ɵ = tan Ɵ = Fx
F F F
Fy 𝐹𝑦
Fx = F cos Ɵ Fy = F sin Ɵ Ɵ = tan-1 𝐹𝑥
Ɵ
Fx

Exercise:
Resolve these forces into their horizontal and vertical components.
(a)

10 N

30o

(b)
125 o
15 N

(c)

30 o

8N

(d)

16N

45o
When adding two vectors, their directions have to be taken into account.
For example:
- F1 = 30N and F2=-20N
F1 + F2= 30 + (-20) = 10N

However, when the forces are at an angle, the forces have to be resolved, and each of the components have to be
added separately to obtain the final resultant force.

For example:
- F1 + F2 = F, where F is the resultant force.

F1= 10 N F2 = 15N

45o 60o

F1x = 10 cos 45 o F2x = 15 cos 60o


F1y = 10 sin 45 o F2y = 15 sin 60o

Fx = F1x + F2x
= 10 cos 45 o - 15 cos 60o
= -0.4289 N

Fy = F1y + F2y
= 10 sin 45 o + 15 sin 60o
= 20.0614 N

Pythagoras Theorem: 𝐹𝑦
Tan Ɵ = 𝐹𝑥
F2 = Fy2 + Fx 2 𝐹𝑦
Fy F Ɵ = tan-1
= 20.06142 + (-0.4289)2 𝐹𝑥
20.0614
Ɵ F = 20.07 N (4sf) = tan-1 0.4289
Fx = 88.8 o
Exercises:
Find the resultant force:

1. F1 = 8 N F2 = 5 N

25o

2. F2=7N
F1=10N
30o
o
80
3.

40o
F1 = 15 N F2=20N

60o

4.
60O
O
150 F2 = 5N F3=6n
o
45 F1 = 13N