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R x = A x + ( B x ) size 12{R rSub { size 8{x} } =A rSub { size 8{x} } +-B rSub { size 8{x} } } {}

and

R y = A y + ( B y ) size 12{R rSub { size 8{y} } =A rSub { size 8{y} } +-B rSub { size 8{y} } } {}

and the rest of the method outlined above is identical to that for addition. (See [link] .)

Analyzing vectors using perpendicular components is very useful in many areas of physics, because perpendicular quantities are often independent of one another. The next module, Projectile Motion , is one of many in which using perpendicular components helps make the picture clear and simplifies the physics.

In this figure, the subtraction of two vectors A and B is shown. A red colored vector A is inclined at an angle theta A to the positive of x axis. From the head of vector A a blue vector negative B is drawn. Vector B is in west of south direction. The resultant of the vector A and vector negative B is shown as a black vector R from the tail of vector A to the head of vector negative B. The resultant R is inclined to x axis at an angle theta below the x axis. The components of the vectors are also shown along the coordinate axes as dotted lines of their respective colors.
The subtraction of the two vectors shown in [link] . The components of –B size 12{B} {} are the negatives of the components of B size 12{B} {} . The method of subtraction is the same as that for addition.

Phet explorations: vector addition

Learn how to add vectors. Drag vectors onto a graph, change their length and angle, and sum them together. The magnitude, angle, and components of each vector can be displayed in several formats.

Vector Addition

Summary

  • The analytical method of vector addition and subtraction involves using the Pythagorean theorem and trigonometric identities to determine the magnitude and direction of a resultant vector.
  • The steps to add vectors A size 12{A} {} and B size 12{B} {} using the analytical method are as follows:

    Step 1: Determine the coordinate system for the vectors. Then, determine the horizontal and vertical components of each vector using the equations

    A x = A cos θ B x = B cos θ alignl { stack { size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } =A"cos"θ} {} #B rSub { size 8{x} } =B"cos"θ {} } } {}

    and

    A y = A sin θ B y = B sin θ . alignl { stack { size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } =A" sin"θ} {} #B=B suby " sin "θ {} } } {}

    Step 2: Add the horizontal and vertical components of each vector to determine the components R x size 12{R rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and R y size 12{R rSub { size 8{y} } } {} of the resultant vector, R size 12{R} {} :

    R x = A x + B x size 12{R rSub { size 8{x} } =A rSub { size 8{x} } +B rSub { size 8{x} } } {}

    and

    R y = A y + B y . size 12{R rSub { size 8{y} } =A rSub { size 8{y} } +B rSub { size 8{y} } } {}

    Step 3: Use the Pythagorean theorem to determine the magnitude, R size 12{R} {} , of the resultant vector R size 12{R} {} :

    R = R x 2 + R y 2 . size 12{R= sqrt {R rSub { size 8{x} } rSup { size 8{2} } +R rSub { size 8{y} } rSup { size 8{2} } } } {}

    Step 4: Use a trigonometric identity to determine the direction, θ size 12{θ} {} , of R size 12{R} {} :

    θ = tan 1 ( R y / R x ) . size 12{θ="tan" rSup { size 8{ - 1} } \( R rSub { size 8{y} } /R rSub { size 8{x} } \) } {}

Conceptual questions

Suppose you add two vectors A size 12{A} {} and B size 12{B} {} . What relative direction between them produces the resultant with the greatest magnitude? What is the maximum magnitude? What relative direction between them produces the resultant with the smallest magnitude? What is the minimum magnitude?

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Give an example of a nonzero vector that has a component of zero.

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Explain why a vector cannot have a component greater than its own magnitude.

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If the vectors A size 12{A} {} and B size 12{B} {} are perpendicular, what is the component of A size 12{A} {} along the direction of B size 12{B} {} ? What is the component of B size 12{B} {} along the direction of A size 12{A} {} ?

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Problems&Exercises

Find the following for path C in [link] : (a) the total distance traveled and (b) the magnitude and direction of the displacement from start to finish. In this part of the problem, explicitly show how you follow the steps of the analytical method of vector addition.

A map of city is shown. The houses are in form of square blocks of side one hundred and twenty meter each. Four paths A B C and D are shown in different colors. The path c shown as blue extends to one block towards north, then five blocks towards east and then two blocks towards south then one block towards west and one block towards north and finally three blocks towards west. It is asked to find out the total distance traveled the magnitude and the direction of the displacement from start to finish for path C.
The various lines represent paths taken by different people walking in a city. All blocks are 120 m on a side.

(a) 1.56 km

(b) 120 m east

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Find the following for path D in [link] : (a) the total distance traveled and (b) the magnitude and direction of the displacement from start to finish. In this part of the problem, explicitly show how you follow the steps of the analytical method of vector addition.

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Find the north and east components of the displacement from San Francisco to Sacramento shown in [link] .

A map of northern California with a circle with a radius of one hundred twenty three kilometers centered on San Francisco. Sacramento lies on the circumference of this circle in a direction forty-five degrees north of east from San Francisco.

North-component 87.0 km, east-component 87.0 km

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Questions & Answers

what is angular velocity
Obaapa Reply
Why does earth exert only a tiny downward pull?
Mya Reply
hello
Islam
Why is light bright?
Abraham Reply
what is radioactive element
Attah Reply
an 8.0 capacitor is connected by to the terminals of 60Hz whoes rms voltage is 150v. a.find the capacity reactance and rms to the circuit
Aisha Reply
thanks so much. i undersooth well
Valdes Reply
what is physics
Nwafor Reply
is the study of matter in relation to energy
Kintu
a submersible pump is dropped a borehole and hits the level of water at the bottom of the borehole 5 seconds later.determine the level of water in the borehole
Obrian Reply
what is power?
aron Reply
power P = Work done per second W/ t. It means the more power, the stronger machine
Sphere
e.g. heart Uses 2 W per beat.
Rohit
A spherica, concave shaving mirror has a radius of curvature of 32 cm .what is the magnification of a persons face. when it is 12cm to the left of the vertex of the mirror
Alona Reply
did you solve?
Shii
1.75cm
Ridwan
my name is Abu m.konnek I am a student of a electrical engineer and I want you to help me
Abu
the magnification k = f/(f-d) with focus f = R/2 =16 cm; d =12 cm k = 16/4 =4
Sphere
what do we call velocity
Kings
A weather vane is some sort of directional arrow parallel to the ground that may rotate freely in a horizontal plane. A typical weather vane has a large cross-sectional area perpendicular to the direction the arrow is pointing, like a “One Way” street sign. The purpose of the weather vane is to indicate the direction of the wind. As wind blows pa
Kavita Reply
hi
Godfred
what about the wind vane
Godfred
If a prism is fully imersed in water then the ray of light will normally dispersed or their is any difference?
Anurag Reply
the same behavior thru the prism out or in water bud abbot
Ju
If this will experimented with a hollow(vaccum) prism in water then what will be result ?
Anurag
What was the previous far point of a patient who had laser correction that reduced the power of her eye by 7.00 D, producing a normal distant vision power of 50.0 D for her?
Jaydie Reply
What is the far point of a person whose eyes have a relaxed power of 50.5 D?
Jaydie
What is the far point of a person whose eyes have a relaxed power of 50.5 D?
Jaydie
A young woman with normal distant vision has a 10.0% ability to accommodate (that is, increase) the power of her eyes. What is the closest object she can see clearly?
Jaydie
29/20 ? maybes
Ju
In what ways does physics affect the society both positively or negatively
Princewill Reply
how can I read physics...am finding it difficult to understand...pls help
rerry Reply
try to read several books on phy don't just rely one. some authors explain better than other.
Ju
And don't forget to check out YouTube videos on the subject. Videos offer a different visual way to learn easier.
Ju
hope that helps
Ju
Practice Key Terms 1

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics for ap® courses. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11844/1.14
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