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The right-hand rule

For a "right-handed" coordinate system, the direction of the resultant vector for AxB can be determined as follows:

Point the forefinger of the right hand in the direction of A and point the second finger in the direction of B. The thumb will then point in the directionof the resultant vector.

The cross product is not commutative

If you think about this, you should realize that the cross product is not commutative. That is to say that AxB is not the same as BxA because thedirection of the resultant vector would not be the same.

Create a vector diagram on your graph board

Once again, in order for you to better understand the nature of a vector cross product, I recommend that you create a Cartesian coordinate system on yourgraph board, and draw the following two vectors.

A vector diagram for your graph board

Draw the first vector from the origin to a point at x = 1y = 1.73 Label this vector A.Draw a second vector from the origin to a point at x = 2.9y = 0.78 Label this vector B.

The cross product

The cross product, AxB is defined as

AxB = Amag*Bmag*sin(angle)


  • Amag is the magnitude of the vector A
  • Bmag is the magnitude of the vector B
  • angle is the angle between the two vectors, which must be less than or equal to180 degrees

The area of the parallelogram

Use the vectors that you have drawn on your graph board to construct a parallelogram and see if you can estimate the area of that parallelogram.

Even if you were a sighted student having the parallelogram drawn on high-quality graph paper, it would be something of a chore to manuallydetermine the area of the parallelogram.

Let's work through some numbers

Let's use the cross product to determine the area of the parallelogram.

Given the definition of the cross product, we see that there are three values that we need:

  • Amag
  • Bmag
  • angle

Same vectors as before

If we were starting out with two new vectors, we could compute the magnitude of each vector using the Pythagorean theorem. We could also determine the angleby computing the vector dot product that I explained earlier in this module.

As you may have noticed, these are the same two vectors that we used earlier, and we computed those three values earlier. Going back and recovering thosethree values, we have

  • Amag = 2.0
  • Bmag = 3.0
  • angle = 45 degrees (at least that is what I intended for it to be)

The area of the parallelogram

Using the earlier definition and the nomenclature for the Google calculator,

AxB = Amag*Bmag*sin(angle), or

AxB = 2.0*3.0*sin(45 degrees), or

AxB = 4.24 square units

The direction of the resultant vector

If you place the end of your thumb at the origin of your Cartesian coordinate system, you should be able, with reasonable comfort, to point your forefinger inthe direction of A and your second finger in the direction of B.

According to the right-hand rule , this means that the direction of the resultant vector is the direction that your thumb ispointing, or straight down into the graph board.

Perpendicular or parallel vectors

Now consider what happens as the angle varies between 90 degrees (perpendicular vectors) and 0 degrees (parallel vectors) for a given pair ofvectors.

Questions & Answers

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.
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
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
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
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
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
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