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College Physics

3.3 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Analytical Methods

College Physics3.3 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Analytical Methods
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Introduction: The Nature of Science and Physics
    1. Introduction to Science and the Realm of Physics, Physical Quantities, and Units
    2. 1.1 Physics: An Introduction
    3. 1.2 Physical Quantities and Units
    4. 1.3 Accuracy, Precision, and Significant Figures
    5. 1.4 Approximation
    6. Glossary
    7. Section Summary
    8. Conceptual Questions
    9. Problems & Exercises
  3. 2 Kinematics
    1. Introduction to One-Dimensional Kinematics
    2. 2.1 Displacement
    3. 2.2 Vectors, Scalars, and Coordinate Systems
    4. 2.3 Time, Velocity, and Speed
    5. 2.4 Acceleration
    6. 2.5 Motion Equations for Constant Acceleration in One Dimension
    7. 2.6 Problem-Solving Basics for One-Dimensional Kinematics
    8. 2.7 Falling Objects
    9. 2.8 Graphical Analysis of One-Dimensional Motion
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
  4. 3 Two-Dimensional Kinematics
    1. Introduction to Two-Dimensional Kinematics
    2. 3.1 Kinematics in Two Dimensions: An Introduction
    3. 3.2 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Graphical Methods
    4. 3.3 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Analytical Methods
    5. 3.4 Projectile Motion
    6. 3.5 Addition of Velocities
    7. Glossary
    8. Section Summary
    9. Conceptual Questions
    10. Problems & Exercises
  5. 4 Dynamics: Force and Newton's Laws of Motion
    1. Introduction to Dynamics: Newton’s Laws of Motion
    2. 4.1 Development of Force Concept
    3. 4.2 Newton’s First Law of Motion: Inertia
    4. 4.3 Newton’s Second Law of Motion: Concept of a System
    5. 4.4 Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Symmetry in Forces
    6. 4.5 Normal, Tension, and Other Examples of Forces
    7. 4.6 Problem-Solving Strategies
    8. 4.7 Further Applications of Newton’s Laws of Motion
    9. 4.8 Extended Topic: The Four Basic Forces—An Introduction
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
  6. 5 Further Applications of Newton's Laws: Friction, Drag, and Elasticity
    1. Introduction: Further Applications of Newton’s Laws
    2. 5.1 Friction
    3. 5.2 Drag Forces
    4. 5.3 Elasticity: Stress and Strain
    5. Glossary
    6. Section Summary
    7. Conceptual Questions
    8. Problems & Exercises
  7. 6 Uniform Circular Motion and Gravitation
    1. Introduction to Uniform Circular Motion and Gravitation
    2. 6.1 Rotation Angle and Angular Velocity
    3. 6.2 Centripetal Acceleration
    4. 6.3 Centripetal Force
    5. 6.4 Fictitious Forces and Non-inertial Frames: The Coriolis Force
    6. 6.5 Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation
    7. 6.6 Satellites and Kepler’s Laws: An Argument for Simplicity
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  8. 7 Work, Energy, and Energy Resources
    1. Introduction to Work, Energy, and Energy Resources
    2. 7.1 Work: The Scientific Definition
    3. 7.2 Kinetic Energy and the Work-Energy Theorem
    4. 7.3 Gravitational Potential Energy
    5. 7.4 Conservative Forces and Potential Energy
    6. 7.5 Nonconservative Forces
    7. 7.6 Conservation of Energy
    8. 7.7 Power
    9. 7.8 Work, Energy, and Power in Humans
    10. 7.9 World Energy Use
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
  9. 8 Linear Momentum and Collisions
    1. Introduction to Linear Momentum and Collisions
    2. 8.1 Linear Momentum and Force
    3. 8.2 Impulse
    4. 8.3 Conservation of Momentum
    5. 8.4 Elastic Collisions in One Dimension
    6. 8.5 Inelastic Collisions in One Dimension
    7. 8.6 Collisions of Point Masses in Two Dimensions
    8. 8.7 Introduction to Rocket Propulsion
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  10. 9 Statics and Torque
    1. Introduction to Statics and Torque
    2. 9.1 The First Condition for Equilibrium
    3. 9.2 The Second Condition for Equilibrium
    4. 9.3 Stability
    5. 9.4 Applications of Statics, Including Problem-Solving Strategies
    6. 9.5 Simple Machines
    7. 9.6 Forces and Torques in Muscles and Joints
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  11. 10 Rotational Motion and Angular Momentum
    1. Introduction to Rotational Motion and Angular Momentum
    2. 10.1 Angular Acceleration
    3. 10.2 Kinematics of Rotational Motion
    4. 10.3 Dynamics of Rotational Motion: Rotational Inertia
    5. 10.4 Rotational Kinetic Energy: Work and Energy Revisited
    6. 10.5 Angular Momentum and Its Conservation
    7. 10.6 Collisions of Extended Bodies in Two Dimensions
    8. 10.7 Gyroscopic Effects: Vector Aspects of Angular Momentum
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  12. 11 Fluid Statics
    1. Introduction to Fluid Statics
    2. 11.1 What Is a Fluid?
    3. 11.2 Density
    4. 11.3 Pressure
    5. 11.4 Variation of Pressure with Depth in a Fluid
    6. 11.5 Pascal’s Principle
    7. 11.6 Gauge Pressure, Absolute Pressure, and Pressure Measurement
    8. 11.7 Archimedes’ Principle
    9. 11.8 Cohesion and Adhesion in Liquids: Surface Tension and Capillary Action
    10. 11.9 Pressures in the Body
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
  13. 12 Fluid Dynamics and Its Biological and Medical Applications
    1. Introduction to Fluid Dynamics and Its Biological and Medical Applications
    2. 12.1 Flow Rate and Its Relation to Velocity
    3. 12.2 Bernoulli’s Equation
    4. 12.3 The Most General Applications of Bernoulli’s Equation
    5. 12.4 Viscosity and Laminar Flow; Poiseuille’s Law
    6. 12.5 The Onset of Turbulence
    7. 12.6 Motion of an Object in a Viscous Fluid
    8. 12.7 Molecular Transport Phenomena: Diffusion, Osmosis, and Related Processes
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  14. 13 Temperature, Kinetic Theory, and the Gas Laws
    1. Introduction to Temperature, Kinetic Theory, and the Gas Laws
    2. 13.1 Temperature
    3. 13.2 Thermal Expansion of Solids and Liquids
    4. 13.3 The Ideal Gas Law
    5. 13.4 Kinetic Theory: Atomic and Molecular Explanation of Pressure and Temperature
    6. 13.5 Phase Changes
    7. 13.6 Humidity, Evaporation, and Boiling
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  15. 14 Heat and Heat Transfer Methods
    1. Introduction to Heat and Heat Transfer Methods
    2. 14.1 Heat
    3. 14.2 Temperature Change and Heat Capacity
    4. 14.3 Phase Change and Latent Heat
    5. 14.4 Heat Transfer Methods
    6. 14.5 Conduction
    7. 14.6 Convection
    8. 14.7 Radiation
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  16. 15 Thermodynamics
    1. Introduction to Thermodynamics
    2. 15.1 The First Law of Thermodynamics
    3. 15.2 The First Law of Thermodynamics and Some Simple Processes
    4. 15.3 Introduction to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Heat Engines and Their Efficiency
    5. 15.4 Carnot’s Perfect Heat Engine: The Second Law of Thermodynamics Restated
    6. 15.5 Applications of Thermodynamics: Heat Pumps and Refrigerators
    7. 15.6 Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Disorder and the Unavailability of Energy
    8. 15.7 Statistical Interpretation of Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: The Underlying Explanation
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  17. 16 Oscillatory Motion and Waves
    1. Introduction to Oscillatory Motion and Waves
    2. 16.1 Hooke’s Law: Stress and Strain Revisited
    3. 16.2 Period and Frequency in Oscillations
    4. 16.3 Simple Harmonic Motion: A Special Periodic Motion
    5. 16.4 The Simple Pendulum
    6. 16.5 Energy and the Simple Harmonic Oscillator
    7. 16.6 Uniform Circular Motion and Simple Harmonic Motion
    8. 16.7 Damped Harmonic Motion
    9. 16.8 Forced Oscillations and Resonance
    10. 16.9 Waves
    11. 16.10 Superposition and Interference
    12. 16.11 Energy in Waves: Intensity
    13. Glossary
    14. Section Summary
    15. Conceptual Questions
    16. Problems & Exercises
  18. 17 Physics of Hearing
    1. Introduction to the Physics of Hearing
    2. 17.1 Sound
    3. 17.2 Speed of Sound, Frequency, and Wavelength
    4. 17.3 Sound Intensity and Sound Level
    5. 17.4 Doppler Effect and Sonic Booms
    6. 17.5 Sound Interference and Resonance: Standing Waves in Air Columns
    7. 17.6 Hearing
    8. 17.7 Ultrasound
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  19. 18 Electric Charge and Electric Field
    1. Introduction to Electric Charge and Electric Field
    2. 18.1 Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of Charge
    3. 18.2 Conductors and Insulators
    4. 18.3 Coulomb’s Law
    5. 18.4 Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited
    6. 18.5 Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges
    7. 18.6 Electric Forces in Biology
    8. 18.7 Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium
    9. 18.8 Applications of Electrostatics
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
  20. 19 Electric Potential and Electric Field
    1. Introduction to Electric Potential and Electric Energy
    2. 19.1 Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference
    3. 19.2 Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field
    4. 19.3 Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge
    5. 19.4 Equipotential Lines
    6. 19.5 Capacitors and Dielectrics
    7. 19.6 Capacitors in Series and Parallel
    8. 19.7 Energy Stored in Capacitors
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  21. 20 Electric Current, Resistance, and Ohm's Law
    1. Introduction to Electric Current, Resistance, and Ohm's Law
    2. 20.1 Current
    3. 20.2 Ohm’s Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits
    4. 20.3 Resistance and Resistivity
    5. 20.4 Electric Power and Energy
    6. 20.5 Alternating Current versus Direct Current
    7. 20.6 Electric Hazards and the Human Body
    8. 20.7 Nerve Conduction–Electrocardiograms
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  22. 21 Circuits and DC Instruments
    1. Introduction to Circuits and DC Instruments
    2. 21.1 Resistors in Series and Parallel
    3. 21.2 Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage
    4. 21.3 Kirchhoff’s Rules
    5. 21.4 DC Voltmeters and Ammeters
    6. 21.5 Null Measurements
    7. 21.6 DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  23. 22 Magnetism
    1. Introduction to Magnetism
    2. 22.1 Magnets
    3. 22.2 Ferromagnets and Electromagnets
    4. 22.3 Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines
    5. 22.4 Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field
    6. 22.5 Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications
    7. 22.6 The Hall Effect
    8. 22.7 Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor
    9. 22.8 Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters
    10. 22.9 Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents: Ampere’s Law
    11. 22.10 Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors
    12. 22.11 More Applications of Magnetism
    13. Glossary
    14. Section Summary
    15. Conceptual Questions
    16. Problems & Exercises
  24. 23 Electromagnetic Induction, AC Circuits, and Electrical Technologies
    1. Introduction to Electromagnetic Induction, AC Circuits and Electrical Technologies
    2. 23.1 Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux
    3. 23.2 Faraday’s Law of Induction: Lenz’s Law
    4. 23.3 Motional Emf
    5. 23.4 Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping
    6. 23.5 Electric Generators
    7. 23.6 Back Emf
    8. 23.7 Transformers
    9. 23.8 Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices
    10. 23.9 Inductance
    11. 23.10 RL Circuits
    12. 23.11 Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive
    13. 23.12 RLC Series AC Circuits
    14. Glossary
    15. Section Summary
    16. Conceptual Questions
    17. Problems & Exercises
  25. 24 Electromagnetic Waves
    1. Introduction to Electromagnetic Waves
    2. 24.1 Maxwell’s Equations: Electromagnetic Waves Predicted and Observed
    3. 24.2 Production of Electromagnetic Waves
    4. 24.3 The Electromagnetic Spectrum
    5. 24.4 Energy in Electromagnetic Waves
    6. Glossary
    7. Section Summary
    8. Conceptual Questions
    9. Problems & Exercises
  26. 25 Geometric Optics
    1. Introduction to Geometric Optics
    2. 25.1 The Ray Aspect of Light
    3. 25.2 The Law of Reflection
    4. 25.3 The Law of Refraction
    5. 25.4 Total Internal Reflection
    6. 25.5 Dispersion: The Rainbow and Prisms
    7. 25.6 Image Formation by Lenses
    8. 25.7 Image Formation by Mirrors
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  27. 26 Vision and Optical Instruments
    1. Introduction to Vision and Optical Instruments
    2. 26.1 Physics of the Eye
    3. 26.2 Vision Correction
    4. 26.3 Color and Color Vision
    5. 26.4 Microscopes
    6. 26.5 Telescopes
    7. 26.6 Aberrations
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  28. 27 Wave Optics
    1. Introduction to Wave Optics
    2. 27.1 The Wave Aspect of Light: Interference
    3. 27.2 Huygens's Principle: Diffraction
    4. 27.3 Young’s Double Slit Experiment
    5. 27.4 Multiple Slit Diffraction
    6. 27.5 Single Slit Diffraction
    7. 27.6 Limits of Resolution: The Rayleigh Criterion
    8. 27.7 Thin Film Interference
    9. 27.8 Polarization
    10. 27.9 *Extended Topic* Microscopy Enhanced by the Wave Characteristics of Light
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
  29. 28 Special Relativity
    1. Introduction to Special Relativity
    2. 28.1 Einstein’s Postulates
    3. 28.2 Simultaneity And Time Dilation
    4. 28.3 Length Contraction
    5. 28.4 Relativistic Addition of Velocities
    6. 28.5 Relativistic Momentum
    7. 28.6 Relativistic Energy
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  30. 29 Introduction to Quantum Physics
    1. Introduction to Quantum Physics
    2. 29.1 Quantization of Energy
    3. 29.2 The Photoelectric Effect
    4. 29.3 Photon Energies and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
    5. 29.4 Photon Momentum
    6. 29.5 The Particle-Wave Duality
    7. 29.6 The Wave Nature of Matter
    8. 29.7 Probability: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
    9. 29.8 The Particle-Wave Duality Reviewed
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
  31. 30 Atomic Physics
    1. Introduction to Atomic Physics
    2. 30.1 Discovery of the Atom
    3. 30.2 Discovery of the Parts of the Atom: Electrons and Nuclei
    4. 30.3 Bohr’s Theory of the Hydrogen Atom
    5. 30.4 X Rays: Atomic Origins and Applications
    6. 30.5 Applications of Atomic Excitations and De-Excitations
    7. 30.6 The Wave Nature of Matter Causes Quantization
    8. 30.7 Patterns in Spectra Reveal More Quantization
    9. 30.8 Quantum Numbers and Rules
    10. 30.9 The Pauli Exclusion Principle
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
  32. 31 Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics
    1. Introduction to Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics
    2. 31.1 Nuclear Radioactivity
    3. 31.2 Radiation Detection and Detectors
    4. 31.3 Substructure of the Nucleus
    5. 31.4 Nuclear Decay and Conservation Laws
    6. 31.5 Half-Life and Activity
    7. 31.6 Binding Energy
    8. 31.7 Tunneling
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  33. 32 Medical Applications of Nuclear Physics
    1. Introduction to Applications of Nuclear Physics
    2. 32.1 Medical Imaging and Diagnostics
    3. 32.2 Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation
    4. 32.3 Therapeutic Uses of Ionizing Radiation
    5. 32.4 Food Irradiation
    6. 32.5 Fusion
    7. 32.6 Fission
    8. 32.7 Nuclear Weapons
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  34. 33 Particle Physics
    1. Introduction to Particle Physics
    2. 33.1 The Yukawa Particle and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Revisited
    3. 33.2 The Four Basic Forces
    4. 33.3 Accelerators Create Matter from Energy
    5. 33.4 Particles, Patterns, and Conservation Laws
    6. 33.5 Quarks: Is That All There Is?
    7. 33.6 GUTs: The Unification of Forces
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  35. 34 Frontiers of Physics
    1. Introduction to Frontiers of Physics
    2. 34.1 Cosmology and Particle Physics
    3. 34.2 General Relativity and Quantum Gravity
    4. 34.3 Superstrings
    5. 34.4 Dark Matter and Closure
    6. 34.5 Complexity and Chaos
    7. 34.6 High-temperature Superconductors
    8. 34.7 Some Questions We Know to Ask
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  36. A | Atomic Masses
  37. B | Selected Radioactive Isotopes
  38. C | Useful Information
  39. D | Glossary of Key Symbols and Notation
  40. Index

Analytical methods of vector addition and subtraction employ geometry and simple trigonometry rather than the ruler and protractor of graphical methods. Part of the graphical technique is retained, because vectors are still represented by arrows for easy visualization. However, analytical methods are more concise, accurate, and precise than graphical methods, which are limited by the accuracy with which a drawing can be made. Analytical methods are limited only by the accuracy and precision with which physical quantities are known.

Resolving a Vector into Perpendicular Components

Analytical techniques and right triangles go hand-in-hand in physics because (among other things) motions along perpendicular directions are independent. We very often need to separate a vector into perpendicular components. For example, given a vector like AA size 12{A} {} in Figure 3.26, we may wish to find which two perpendicular vectors, AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {}, add to produce it.

In the given figure a dotted vector A sub x is drawn from the origin along the x axis. From the head of the vector A sub x another vector A sub y is drawn in the upward direction. Their resultant vector A is drawn from the tail of the vector A sub x to the head of the vector A sub y at an angle theta from the x axis. On the graph a vector A, inclined at an angle theta with x axis is shown. Therefore vector A is the sum of the vectors A sub x and A sub y.
Figure 3.26 The vector AA size 12{A} {}, with its tail at the origin of an x, y-coordinate system, is shown together with its x- and y-components, AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {}. These vectors form a right triangle. The analytical relationships among these vectors are summarized below.

AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {} are defined to be the components of AA size 12{A} {} along the x- and y-axes. The three vectors AA size 12{A} {}, AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {}, and AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {} form a right triangle:

Ax + Ay = A.Ax + Ay = A. size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } bold " + A" rSub { size 8{y} } bold " = A."} {}
3.3

Note that this relationship between vector components and the resultant vector holds only for vector quantities (which include both magnitude and direction). The relationship does not apply for the magnitudes alone. For example, if Ax=3 mAx=3 m size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} east, Ay=4 mAy=4 m size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {} north, and A=5 mA=5 m size 12{A} {} north-east, then it is true that the vectors Ax + Ay = AAx + Ay = A size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } bold " + A" rSub { size 8{y} } bold " = A"} {}. However, it is not true that the sum of the magnitudes of the vectors is also equal. That is,

3 m+4 m   5 m 3 m+4 m   5 m alignl { stack { size 12{"3 M + 4 M " <> " 5 M"} {} # {} } } {}
3.4

Thus,

A x + A y A A x + A y A size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } +A rSub { size 8{y} } <> A} {}
3.5

If the vector AA size 12{A} {} is known, then its magnitude AA size 12{A} {} (its length) and its angle θ θ size 12{θ} {} (its direction) are known. To find AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {}, its x- and y-components, we use the following relationships for a right triangle.

A x = A cos θ A x = A cos θ size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } =A"cos"θ} {}
3.6

and

Ay=Asinθ.Ay=Asinθ. size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } =A"sin"θ"."} {}
3.7
]A dotted vector A sub x whose magnitude is equal to A cosine theta is drawn from the origin along the x axis. From the head of the vector A sub x another vector A sub y whose magnitude is equal to A sine theta is drawn in the upward direction. Their resultant vector A is drawn from the tail of the vector A sub x to the head of the vector A-y at an angle theta from the x axis. Therefore vector A is the sum of the vectors A sub x and A sub y.
Figure 3.27 The magnitudes of the vector components AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {} can be related to the resultant vector AA size 12{A} {} and the angle θ θ size 12{θ} {} with trigonometric identities. Here we see that Ax=AcosθAx=Acosθ size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } =A"cos"θ} {} and Ay=AsinθAy=Asinθ size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } =A"sin"θ} {}.

Suppose, for example, that AA size 12{A} {} is the vector representing the total displacement of the person walking in a city considered in Kinematics in Two Dimensions: An Introduction and Vector Addition and Subtraction: Graphical Methods.

In the given figure a vector A of magnitude ten point three blocks is inclined at an angle twenty nine point one degrees to the positive x axis. The horizontal component A sub x of vector A is equal to A cosine theta which is equal to ten point three blocks multiplied to cosine twenty nine point one degrees which is equal to nine blocks east. Also the vertical component A sub y of vector A is equal to A sin theta is equal to ten point three blocks multiplied to sine twenty nine point one degrees,  which is equal to five point zero blocks north.
Figure 3.28 We can use the relationships Ax=AcosθAx=Acosθ size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } =A"cos"θ} {} and Ay=AsinθAy=Asinθ size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } =A"sin"θ} {} to determine the magnitude of the horizontal and vertical component vectors in this example.

Then A=10.3A=10.3 size 12{A} {} blocks and θ = 29.1º θ = 29.1º size 12{"29.1º"} , so that

Ax=Acosθ=(10.3 blocks)(cos29.1º)=9.0 blocksAx=Acosθ=(10.3 blocks)(cos29.1º)=9.0 blocks size 12{}
3.8
Ay=Asinθ=(10.3 blocks)(sin29.1º)=5.0 blocks.Ay=Asinθ=(10.3 blocks)(sin29.1º)=5.0 blocks. size 12{""}
3.9

Calculating a Resultant Vector

If the perpendicular components AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {} of a vector AA size 12{A} {} are known, then AA size 12{A} {} can also be found analytically. To find the magnitude AA size 12{A} {} and direction θ θ size 12{θ} {} of a vector from its perpendicular components AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {}, we use the following relationships:

A=Ax2+Ay2A=Ax2+Ay2 size 12{A= sqrt {A rSub { size 8{x} rSup { size 8{2} } } +A rSub { size 8{y} rSup { size 8{2} } } } } {}
3.10
θ = tan 1 ( A y / A x ) . θ = tan 1 ( A y / A x ) . size 12{θ="tan" rSup { size 8{ - 1} } \( A rSub { size 8{y} } /A rSub { size 8{x} } \) } {}
3.11
Vector A is shown with its horizontal and vertical components A sub x and A sub y respectively. The magnitude of vector A is equal to the square root of A sub x squared plus A sub y squared. The angle theta of the vector A with the x axis is equal to inverse tangent of A sub y over A sub x
Figure 3.29 The magnitude and direction of the resultant vector can be determined once the horizontal and vertical components A x A x size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and A y A y size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {} have been determined.

Note that the equation A = A x 2 + A y 2 A = A x 2 + A y 2 size 12{A= sqrt {A rSub { size 8{x} rSup { size 8{2} } } +A rSub { size 8{y} rSup { size 8{2} } } } } {} is just the Pythagorean theorem relating the legs of a right triangle to the length of the hypotenuse. For example, if AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {} are 9 and 5 blocks, respectively, then A=92+52=10.3A=92+52=10.3 size 12{A= sqrt {9 rSup { size 8{2} } "+5" rSup { size 8{2} } } "=10" "." 3} {} blocks, again consistent with the example of the person walking in a city. Finally, the direction is θ = tan –1 ( 5/9 ) =29.1º θ = tan –1 ( 5/9 ) =29.1º size 12{θ="tan" rSup { size 8{–1} } \( "5/9" \) "=29" "." 1 rSup { size 8{o} } } {} , as before.

Determining Vectors and Vector Components with Analytical Methods

Equations Ax=AcosθAx=Acosθ size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } =A"cos"θ} {} and Ay=AsinθAy=Asinθ size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } =A"sin"θ} {} are used to find the perpendicular components of a vector—that is, to go from AA size 12{A} {} and θ θ size 12{θ} {} to AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {}. Equations A=Ax2+Ay2A=Ax2+Ay2 size 12{A= sqrt {A rSub { size 8{x} rSup { size 8{2} } } +A rSub { size 8{y} rSup { size 8{2} } } } } {} and θ=tan–1(Ay/Ax)θ=tan–1(Ay/Ax) are used to find a vector from its perpendicular components—that is, to go from AxAx and AyAy to AA and θ θ . Both processes are crucial to analytical methods of vector addition and subtraction.

Adding Vectors Using Analytical Methods

To see how to add vectors using perpendicular components, consider Figure 3.30, in which the vectors AA size 12{A} {} and BB size 12{B} {} are added to produce the resultant RR size 12{R} {}.

Two vectors A and B are shown. The tail of vector B is at the head of vector A and the tail of the vector A is at origin. Both the vectors are in the first quadrant. The resultant R of these two vectors extending from the tail of vector A to the head of vector B is also shown.
Figure 3.30 Vectors AA size 12{A} {} and BB size 12{B} {} are two legs of a walk, and RR size 12{R} {} is the resultant or total displacement. You can use analytical methods to determine the magnitude and direction of RR size 12{R} {}.

If AA and BB represent two legs of a walk (two displacements), then RR is the total displacement. The person taking the walk ends up at the tip of R.R. There are many ways to arrive at the same point. In particular, the person could have walked first in the x-direction and then in the y-direction. Those paths are the x- and y-components of the resultant, RxRx and RyRy size 12{R rSub { size 8{y} } } {}. If we know RxRx and RyRy size 12{R rSub { size 8{y} } } {}, we can find RR and θ θ using the equations A = A x 2 + Ay 2 A = A x 2 + Ay 2 and θ =tan –1 (Ay /Ax )θ =tan –1 (Ay /Ax ) size 12{θ="tan" rSup { size 8{–1} } \( A rSub { size 8{y} } /A rSub { size 8{x} } \) } {}. When you use the analytical method of vector addition, you can determine the components or the magnitude and direction of a vector.

Step 1. Identify the x- and y-axes that will be used in the problem. Then, find the components of each vector to be added along the chosen perpendicular axes. Use the equations Ax=AcosθAx=Acosθ size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } =A"cos"θ} {} and Ay=AsinθAy=Asinθ size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } =A"sin"θ} {} to find the components. In Figure 3.31, these components are AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {}, AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {}, BxBx size 12{B rSub { size 8{x} } } {}, and ByBy size 12{B rSub { size 8{y} } } {}. The angles that vectors AA size 12{A} {} and BB size 12{B} {} make with the x-axis are θAθA size 12{θ rSub { size 8{A} } } {} and θBθB size 12{θ rSub { size 8{B} } } {}, respectively.

Two vectors A and B are shown. The tail of the vector B is at the head of vector A and the tail of the vector A is at origin. Both the vectors are in the first quadrant. The resultant R of these two vectors extending from the tail of vector A to the head of vector B is also shown. The horizontal and vertical components of the vectors A and B are shown with the help of dotted lines. The vectors labeled as A sub x and A sub y are the components of vector A, and B sub x and B sub y as the components of vector B..
Figure 3.31 To add vectors AA size 12{A} {} and BB size 12{B} {}, first determine the horizontal and vertical components of each vector. These are the dotted vectors AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {}, AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {}, BxBx size 12{B rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and ByBy size 12{B rSub { size 8{y} } } {} shown in the image.

Step 2. Find the components of the resultant along each axis by adding the components of the individual vectors along that axis. That is, as shown in Figure 3.32,

R x = A x + B x R x = A x + B x size 12{R rSub { size 8{x} } =A rSub { size 8{x} } +B rSub { size 8{x} } } {}
3.12

and

R y = A y + B y . R y = A y + B y . size 12{R rSub { size 8{y} } =A rSub { size 8{y} } +B rSub { size 8{y} } } {}
3.13
Two vectors A and B are shown. The tail of vector B is at the head of vector A and the tail of the vector A is at origin. Both the vectors are in the first quadrant. The resultant R of these two vectors extending from the tail of vector A to the head of vector B is also shown. The vectors A and B are resolved into the horizontal and vertical components shown as dotted lines parallel to x axis and y axis respectively. The horizontal components of vector A and vector B are labeled as A sub x and B sub x and the horizontal component of the resultant R is labeled at R sub x and is equal to A sub x plus B sub x. The vertical components of vector A and vector B are labeled as A sub y and B sub y and the vertical components of the resultant R is labeled as R sub y is equal to A sub y plus B sub y.
Figure 3.32 The magnitude of the vectors AxAx size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } } {} and BxBx size 12{B rSub { size 8{x} } } {} add to give the magnitude RxRx size 12{R rSub { size 8{x} } } {} of the resultant vector in the horizontal direction. Similarly, the magnitudes of the vectors AyAy size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } } {} and ByBy size 12{B rSub { size 8{y} } } {} add to give the magnitude RyRy size 12{R rSub { size 8{y} } } {} of the resultant vector in the vertical direction.

Components along the same axis, say the x-axis, are vectors along the same line and, thus, can be added to one another like ordinary numbers. The same is true for components along the y-axis. (For example, a 9-block eastward walk could be taken in two legs, the first 3 blocks east and the second 6 blocks east, for a total of 9, because they are along the same direction.) So resolving vectors into components along common axes makes it easier to add them. Now that the components of RR size 12{R} {} are known, its magnitude and direction can be found.

Step 3. To get the magnitude RR size 12{R } {} of the resultant, use the Pythagorean theorem:

R=Rx2+Ry2.R=Rx2+Ry2. size 12{R= sqrt {R rSub { size 8{x} } rSup { size 8{2} } +R rSub { size 8{y} } rSup { size 8{2} } } "."} {}
3.14

Step 4. To get the direction of the resultant:

θ=tan1(Ry/Rx).θ=tan1(Ry/Rx). size 12{θ="tan" rSup { size 8{ - 1} } \( R rSub { size 8{y} } /R rSub { size 8{x} } \) "."} {}
3.15

The following example illustrates this technique for adding vectors using perpendicular components.

Example 3.3 Adding Vectors Using Analytical Methods

Add the vector AA size 12{A} {} to the vector BB size 12{B} {} shown in Figure 3.33, using perpendicular components along the x- and y-axes. The x- and y-axes are along the east–west and north–south directions, respectively. Vector AA size 12{A} {} represents the first leg of a walk in which a person walks 53.0 m53.0 m size 12{"53" "." "0 m"} {} in a direction 20.0º20.0º size 12{"20" "." 0º } {} north of east. Vector BB size 12{B} {} represents the second leg, a displacement of 34.0 m34.0 m size 12{"34" "." "0 m"} {} in a direction 63.0º63.0º size 12{"63" "." 0º } {} north of east.

Two vectors A and B are shown. The tail of the vector A is at origin. Both the vectors are in the first quadrant. Vector A is of magnitude fifty three units and is inclined at an angle of twenty degrees to the horizontal. From the head of the vector A another vector B of magnitude 34 units is drawn and is inclined at angle sixty three degrees with the horizontal. The resultant of two vectors is drawn from the tail of the vector A to the head of the vector B.
Figure 3.33 Vector AA size 12{A} {} has magnitude 53.0 m53.0 m size 12{"53" "." "0 m"} {} and direction 20.0º20.0º size 12{"20" "." 0 { size 12{ circ } } } {} north of the x-axis. Vector BB size 12{B} {} has magnitude 34.0 m34.0 m size 12{"34" "." "0 m"} {} and direction 63.0º63.0º size 12{"63" "." 0° } {} north of the x-axis. You can use analytical methods to determine the magnitude and direction of RR size 12{R} {}.

Strategy

The components of AA size 12{A} {} and BB size 12{B} {} along the x- and y-axes represent walking due east and due north to get to the same ending point. Once found, they are combined to produce the resultant.

Solution

Following the method outlined above, we first find the components of AA size 12{A} {} and BB size 12{B} {} along the x- and y-axes. Note that A=53.0 mA=53.0 m size 12{"A" "=" "53.0 m"} {}, θA=20.0ºθA=20.0º size 12{"θ" "subA" "=" "20.0°" } {}, B=34.0 mB=34.0 m size 12{"B" "=" "34.0" "m"} {}, and θB=63.0ºθB=63.0º size 12{θ rSub { size 8{B} } } {}. We find the x-components by using Ax=AcosθAx=Acosθ size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } =A"cos"θ} {}, which gives

A x = A cos θ A = ( 53. 0 m ) ( cos 20.0º ) = ( 53. 0 m ) ( 0 .940 ) = 49. 8 m A x = A cos θ A = ( 53. 0 m ) ( cos 20.0º ) = ( 53. 0 m ) ( 0 .940 ) = 49. 8 m alignl { stack { size 12{A rSub { size 8{x} } =A"cos"θ rSub { size 8{A} } = \( "53" "." 0" m" \) \( "cos""20" "." 0 { size 12{ circ } } \) } {} # " "= \( "53" "." 0" m" \) \( 0 "." "940" \) ="49" "." 8" m" {} } } {}
3.16

and

B x = B cos θ B = ( 34 . 0 m ) ( cos 63.0º ) = ( 34 . 0 m ) ( 0 . 454 ) = 15 . 4 m . B x = B cos θ B = ( 34 . 0 m ) ( cos 63.0º ) = ( 34 . 0 m ) ( 0 . 454 ) = 15 . 4 m . alignl { stack { size 12{B rSub { size 8{x} } =B"cos"θ rSub { size 8{B} } = \( "34" "." 0" m" \) \( "cos""63" "." 0 { size 12{ circ } } \) } {} # " "= \( "34" "." 0" m" \) \( 0 "." "454" \) ="15" "." 4" m" {} } } {}
3.17

Similarly, the y-components are found using Ay=AsinθAAy=AsinθA size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } =A"sin"θ rSub { size 8{A} } } {}:

A y = A sin θ A = ( 53 . 0 m ) ( sin 20.0º ) = ( 53 . 0 m ) ( 0 . 342 ) = 18 . 1 m A y = A sin θ A = ( 53 . 0 m ) ( sin 20.0º ) = ( 53 . 0 m ) ( 0 . 342 ) = 18 . 1 m alignl { stack { size 12{A rSub { size 8{y} } =A"sin"θ rSub { size 8{A} } = \( "53" "." 0" m" \) \( "sin""20" "." 0 { size 12{ circ } } \) } {} # " "= \( "53" "." 0" m" \) \( 0 "." "342" \) ="18" "." 1" m" {} } } {}
3.18

and

B y = B sin θ B = ( 34 . 0 m ) ( sin 63 . 0 º ) = ( 34 . 0 m ) ( 0 . 891 ) = 30 . 3 m . B y = B sin θ B = ( 34 . 0 m ) ( sin 63 . 0 º ) = ( 34 . 0 m ) ( 0 . 891 ) = 30 . 3 m . alignl { stack { size 12{B rSub { size 8{y} } =B"sin"θ rSub { size 8{B} } = \( "34" "." 0" m" \) \( "sin""63" "." 0 { size 12{ circ } } \) } {} # " "= \( "34" "." 0" m" \) \( 0 "." "891" \) ="30" "." 3" m" "." {} } } {}
3.19

The x- and y-components of the resultant are thus

R x = A x + B x = 49 . 8 m + 15 . 4 m = 65 . 2 m R x = A x + B x = 49 . 8 m + 15 . 4 m = 65 . 2 m size 12{R rSub { size 8{x} } =A rSub { size 8{x} } +B rSub { size 8{x} } ="49" "." 8" m"+"15" "." 4" m"="65" "." 2" m"} {}
3.20

and

Ry=Ay+By=18.1 m+30.3 m=48.4 m.Ry=Ay+By=18.1 m+30.3 m=48.4 m. size 12{R rSub { size 8{y} } =A rSub { size 8{y} } +B rSub { size 8{y} } ="18" "." 1" m"+"30" "." 3" m"="48" "." 4" m."} {}
3.21

Now we can find the magnitude of the resultant by using the Pythagorean theorem:

R = R x 2 + R y 2 = ( 65 . 2 ) 2 + ( 48 . 4 ) 2 m R = R x 2 + R y 2 = ( 65 . 2 ) 2 + ( 48 . 4 ) 2 m size 12{R= sqrt {R rSub { size 8{x} } rSup { size 8{2} } +R rSub { size 8{y} } rSup { size 8{2} } } = sqrt { \( "65" "." 2 \) rSup { size 8{2} } + \( "48" "." 4 \) rSup { size 8{2} } } " m"} {}
3.22

so that

R = 81.2 m. R = 81.2 m. size 12{R ="81.2" "m."} {}
3.23

Finally, we find the direction of the resultant:

θ=tan1(Ry/Rx)=+tan1(48.4/65.2).θ=tan1(Ry/Rx)=+tan1(48.4/65.2). size 12{θ="tan" rSup { size 8{ - 1} } \( R rSub { size 8{y} } /R rSub { size 8{x} } \) "=+""tan" rSup { size 8{ - 1} } \( "48" "." 4/"65" "." 2 \) "."} {}
3.24

Thus,

θ=tan1(0.742)=36.6º.θ=tan1(0.742)=36.6º. size 12{θ="tan" rSup { size 8{ - 1} } \( 0 "." "742" \) ="36" "." 6 { size 12{ circ } } "."} {}
3.25
The addition of two vectors A and B is shown. Vector A is of magnitude fifty three units and is inclined at an angle of twenty degrees to the horizontal. Vector B is of magnitude thirty four units and is inclined at angle sixty three degrees to the horizontal. The components of vector A are shown as dotted vectors A X is equal to forty nine point eight meter along x axis and A Y is equal to eighteen point one meter along Y axis. The components of vector B are also shown as dotted vectors B X is equal to fifteen point four meter and B Y is equal to thirty point three meter. The horizontal component of the resultant R X is equal to A X plus B X is equal to sixty five point two meter. The vertical component of the resultant R Y is equal to A Y plus B Y is equal to forty eight point four meter. The magnitude of the resultant of two vectors is eighty one point two meters. The direction of the resultant R is in thirty six point six degree from the vector A in anticlockwise direction.
Figure 3.34 Using analytical methods, we see that the magnitude of RR size 12{R} {} is 81.2 m81.2 m size 12{"81" "." "2 m"} {} and its direction is 36.36. size 12{"36" "." 6°} {} north of east.

Discussion

This example illustrates the addition of vectors using perpendicular components. Vector subtraction using perpendicular components is very similar—it is just the addition of a negative vector.

Subtraction of vectors is accomplished by the addition of a negative vector. That is, ABA+(–B)ABA+(–B) size 12{A – B equiv A+ \( - B \) } {}. Thus, the method for the subtraction of vectors using perpendicular components is identical to that for addition. The components of –B–B are the negatives of the components of BB size 12{B} {}. The x- and y-components of the resultant AB = RAB = R size 12{A- bold "B = R"} {} are thus

R x = A x + ( B x ) R x = A x + ( B x ) size 12{R rSub { size 8{x} } =A rSub { size 8{x} } +-B rSub { size 8{x} } } {}
3.26

and

R y = A y + ( B y ) R y = A y + ( B y ) size 12{R rSub { size 8{y} } =A rSub { size 8{y} } +-B rSub { size 8{y} } } {}
3.27

and the rest of the method outlined above is identical to that for addition. (See Figure 3.35.)

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.
Figure 3.35 The subtraction of the two vectors shown in Figure 3.30. The components of –B–B size 12{B} {} are the negatives of the components of BB 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.

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