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Scalars are represented by a single letter, such as a. Some examples of scalar quantities are numbers without units (such as three), mass (five kilograms), and temperature (twenty-two degrees Celsius). Vector Quantities Vectors are a geometric way of representing quantities that have direction as well as magnitude. An example of a vector is force. If we are to fully describe a force on an object we need to specify not only how much force is applied, but also in which direction. Another example of a vector quantity is velocity -- an object that is traveling at ten meters per second to the east has a different velocity than an object that is traveling ten meters per second to the west. This vector is a special case; however, sometimes people are interested in only the magnitude of the velocity of an object. This quantity, a scalar, is called speed which has magnitude but no given direction. When vectors are written, they are represented by a single letter in bold type or with an arrow above the letter, such as or . Some examples of vectors are displacement (e.g. 120 cm at 30°) and velocity (e.g. 12 meters per second north). The only basic SI unit that is a vector is the meter. All others are scalars. Derived quantities can be vector or scalar, but every vector quantity must involve meters in its definition and unit. Unit Vectors A unit vector has a magnitude of 1 with no units which is used to describe a point in space. It provides a convenient notation for expressions involving vector components. It is designated by symbol hat ´^µ. A component vector is still a vector A unit vector is used to specify a direction

A ! Ax A y Ö i px Öpy j

Ö kpz

A x ! AxiÖ Ö y ! y j

Ö j Then A ! Axi Ay Ö

Consider 2 vectors Vector B is expressed by

Ö B ! Bx i B y Ö j

Then C ! A B

Ö C ! ( Ax i Ay Ö) ( Bx iÖ B y Ö) j j Ö C ! ( Ax Bx )i ( Ay By ) Ö j

So C x ! Ax Bx

C y ! Ay B y

There are two other major coordinate systems used in physics³cylindrical coordinates and spherical coordinates. number of bananas. One could just have easily chosen i as up.3) again. Ö Ö j k !i x Ö. in handwriting. A unit vector is a vector pointing in a given direction with a magnitude of one. These will be introduced at a later time as necessary. While unit vectors do not need to be orthogonal. and ). Nevertheless. working with a coordinate system defined by orthogonal unit vectors will be convenient in most cases. Colloquially. as . . As vectors are geometric objects. and k. j. In three dimensions. so that a common convention called "right-hand rule" holds.Ö if the vector do not lie in the xy-plane. In choosing i. we do not need to define a coordinate system in order to talk about vectors³or even to perform most operations on vectors. Thus. k which points in the direction of the + z-axis. vectors exist separately from any coordinate systems. you will have (1. Mathematically. with a little "hat" on top.3). consider the triple of numbers: number of apples. That is. j. once i and j are chosen. and recalculate. for many problems the rectangular. If you rotate your coordinate system. this can be compactly expressed as. and "up". Unit vectors are generally chosen to be orthogonal. For example. it is often convenient to introduce a coordinate system. you might refer to the directions of the unit vectors as "east". then a third component is introduced. and k (or. Say that you calculate the triple in one coordinate system and get (1. and number of carrots you have. each unit vector is perpendicular to each of the others. j as east. or Cartesian coordinate system (after French mathematician René Descartes) turns out to be convenient.2.2. it merely indicates direction. In a Cartesian system the three unit vectors are called i. Then one can write Ö Ö A ! Ax i Ay Ö Az k j 2 2 Ax Ay Az2 And the magnitude of A is A ! Strictly speaking. k must point to a particular direction. "north". the triple does not have the most important property of a vector -. . and this coordinate system can be defined in terms of unit vectors.that is transform like the coordinate system. and k as north. but we will expand more on this as we describe "cross products" later on. Essentially.

T T T T T X mA ! Am T T T T T T AB C ! A BC T X m nA ! .ay.g. 5. 4. Vector Algebra Negation Illustration of vector negation and scalar multiplication Ö Ö Ö A ! (a x i a y Ö a z k ) ! a x iÖ a y Ö a z k j j Considering a vector represented graphically by an arrow. and az are called the vector components of vector A. A B ! B A 2. 6. (ax. Rules for vector algebra 1. 3. the negative of a vector would be represented by a vector of the same length but opposite direction. Sometimes they are represented simply as an ordered triple (e. Ö Ö A ! axi a y Ö az k j The quantities ax.az)) especially when the choice and ordering of three unit vectors are not ambiguous. ay.Vector Components Every vector may be expressed as the sum of its n unit vectors.

mn A T X X .

m n A ! mA nA T T T X m A B ! mA mB (Cumulative law for addition) (Cumulative law for multiplication) .

.

.

.

Solution A ! 3iÖ 5 Ö j Ö B ! 4i 2 Ö j . Addition of vector Illustration of head-to-tail addition Ö Ö Ö A B ! (a x iÖ a y Ö a z k ) (bx i b y Ö bz k ) j j Ö Ö ! (a x bx )i (a y b y ) Ö (a z bz )k j Two vectors can be added graphically by placing the tail of the second vector (here. -2). (Associative law for addition) (Associative law for distribution) (Distributive law for addition) (Distributive law for multiplication). The resultant vector A + B is the vector drawn from the tail of A to the tip of B. while vector B is (4. Find the magnitude and direction of the sum C of the vectors A and B. Example: Vector A is described algebraically as (-3. 5). B) coincidental with the tip of the first vector (A).

Ö C ! A B ! .

3 4 i .

Geometrically. and the distributive property. if A is parallel to B . Note that since cos 0 o ! 1 . Dot product has all the usual properties of products. dot product is defined as: A y B ! AB cosU A U U Component of B along A direction A B Component of U B B A along B direction where U is the angle between A & B . Using this as the guiding rule. commutativity. since cos 90 o ! 0 if A is perpendicular to B .16 X C x ! 1 Cy ! 3 U ! tan 1 Cy Cx ! tan 1 3 ! 71. then A y B ! AB cos 90o ! 0 . we can define dot product in terms of component vectors as follows: Ö Ö Ö Ö A y B ! ( Axi Ay Ö Az k ) y ( Bxi By Ö Bz k ) j j A y B ! Ax B x Ay B y Az B z . or one that produces a vector as the end result.56 o Multiplying Vectors There are three ways in which vectors can be multiplied: 1.5 2 Ö ! 1iÖ 3 Ö j j 2 2 C ! C x C y ! 12 3 2 ! 3. 2. such as associativity. where that scalar is -1. then A y B ! AB cos 0o ! AB . Dot Product When we multiply two vectors. In mathematical texts. The first one that produces a scalar is called dot product. Scalar Multiplication Ö k A ! ka x iÖ ka y Ö ka z k j Note that vector negation is merely multiplication by a scalar. j Ö Ö j Ö Using this. we find below relationship: iÖ y iÖ ! Ö y Ö ! k y k ! 1 j j Ö Ö iÖ y Ö ! i y k ! Ö y k ! 0 . we can either apply a multiplication rule that produces a scalar as the end result. they are all the same. and some older texts will refer to this as scalar product (not to be confused with scalar multiplication). On the other hand. this is often called inner product. A scaled vector represented graphically would point in the same direction as the original vector but have its magnitude scaled by a factor of k.

Cross Product The second multiplication rule for product of two vectors yields yet another vector. Then the thumb points towards the direction of A x B . The ordering is important here (note exchanging A and B makes the thumb point in the opposite direction). dot product can be naturally extended or limited to any dimensions to produce a scalar). Applying this definition to unit vectors again. an extension of this rule will not result in another vector (cf. and the thumb so that they are all perpendicular to each other. If U ! 0o . and the middle finger towards B . This rule will not work when limited to 2-D. using the distributive property and find which terms cancel to zero and which products become 1. and in any dimensions greater than 3. The product can be defined with the two rules. middle finger. where is again the angle between A and B . the magnitude of the Vector Product can be defined as the product of the magnitude of the first vector and the component of the second vector perpendicular to the first vector or vise versa. you may find terms outer product and vector product. and in other texts. perpendicular to the plane defined by these two vectors).You are encouraged to expand out the multiplication explicitly. This multiplication rule is a very special one³in fact. This multiplication is called cross product. One of the two directions is called by a "right-hand rule": Hold out index finger. Let the index finger point towards direction of A . A sin U is or B sin U is Component of B along A direction A A x B ! AB sin U U Component of A along B direction B U B Therefore. we find following relationships: Ö Ö j j Ö Ö i xi ! Öx Ö!k xk !0 . Ax B ! AB sin U . first specifying the product vector's direction. then Ax B ! AB sin 0o ! 0 Ax B ! AB sin 90o ! AB The direction of C is perpendicular to the plane that contains A and C using the right hand rule. The vector product of two vectors produces a third vector whose magnitude is C ! AB sin U But from the figure. A x B is perpendicular to A and B (that is. This leaves two possible directions along the line perpendicular to the plane. it is a special property of 3-dimensional space that we can define a vector multiplication is this way and still obtain a vector. then If U ! 90o . and the second specifying its magnitude. 3.

It can not be interchanged because of the result of the directions as shown above. that is c ! c or a x b ! (b x a ) .Ö Ö j i x Ö ! Ö x iÖ ! k j Ö j Ö x k ! k x Ö ! iÖ j Ö Ö Ö j k x iÖ ! iÖ x k ! Ö Ö Ö Ö Ö And in terms of components. A x B ! ( Ax i Ay Ö Az k ) x ( B x i B y Ö B z k ) we have (after a j j tedious algebra): Ö A x B ! ( Ay Bz Az B y )iÖ ( Az Bx Ax Bz ) Ö ( Ax B y Ay Bx )k . j It turns out we can write this complicated relationship as a determinant of a 3 x 3 matrix: iÖ X T A x B ! Ax Bx Ö j Ay By Ö k Az Bz Note:The order of the vector multiplication is important.

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