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Introduction

This chapter focuses on vectors. We will learn what is a vector and how it differs from everyday numbers. We will also learn how to add, subtract and multiply them and where they appear in Physics.

Are vectors Physics? No, vectors themselves are not Physics. Physics is just a description of the world around us. To describe something we need to use a language. The most common language used to describe Physics is Mathematics. Vectors form a very important part of the mathematical description of Physics, so much so that it is absolutely essential to master the use of vectors.

Scalars and vectors

In Mathematics, you learned that a number is something that represents a quantity. For example if you have 5 books, 6 apples and 1 bicycle, the 5, 6, and 1 represent how many of each item you have.

These kinds of numbers are known as scalars .

Scalar

A scalar is a quantity that has only magnitude (size).

An extension to a scalar is a vector, which is a scalar with a direction. For example, if you travel 1 km down Main Road to school, the quantity 1 km down Main Road is a vector. The “ 1 km ” is the quantity (or scalar) and the “ down Main Road ” gives a direction.

In Physics we use the word magnitude to refer to the scalar part of the vector.

Vectors

A vector is a quantity that has both magnitude and direction.

A vector should tell you how much and which way .

For example, a man is driving his car east along a freeway at 100 km · h - 1 . What we have given here is a vector – the velocity. The car is moving at 100 km · h - 1 (this is the magnitude) and we know where it is going – east (this is the direction). Thus, we know the speed and direction of the car. These two quantities, a magnitude and a direction, form a vector we call velocity.

Notation

Vectors are different to scalars and therefore have their own notation.

Mathematical representation

There are many ways of writing the symbol for a vector. Vectors are denoted by symbols with an arrow pointing to the right above it. For example, a , v and F represent the vectors acceleration, velocity and force, meaning they have both a magnitude and a direction.

Sometimes just the magnitude of a vector is needed. In this case, the arrow is omitted. In other words, F denotes the magnitude of the vector F . | F | is another way of representing the magnitude of a vector.

Graphical representation

Vectors are drawn as arrows. An arrow has both a magnitude (how long it is) and a direction (the direction in which it points). The starting point of a vector is known as the tail and the end point is known as the head .

Examples of vectors
Parts of a vector

Directions

There are many acceptable methods of writing vectors. As long as the vector has a magnitude and a direction, it is most likely acceptable. These different methods come from the different methods of expressing a direction for a vector.

Relative directions

The simplest method of expressing direction is with relative directions: to the left, to the right, forward, backward, up and down.

Compass directions

Another common method of expressing directions is to use the points of a compass: North, South, East, and West. If a vector does not point exactly in one of the compass directions, then we use an angle. For example, we can have a vector pointing 40 North of West. Start with the vector pointing along the West direction: Then rotate the vector towards the north until there is a 40 angle between the vector and the West. The direction of this vector can also be described as: W 40 N (West 40 North); or N 50 W (North 50 West)

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
Ali
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
learn
Google
da
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Bhagvanji
hey
Giriraj
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
revolt
da
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
Bhagvanji
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
nanocopper obvius
Alexandre
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
Draw a frame of reference with house A as the origin and write down the positions of houses B, C, D and E.
jason Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Physics - grade 10 [caps 2011]. OpenStax CNX. Jun 14, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11298/1.3
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