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Glencoe Physics Ch 4

When drawing vectors…
length = magnitude (with scale)
angle = direction of the vector
When drawing and
moving vectors, these
two characteristics
must be maintained
 Vector Addition= finding the
sum or Resultant of two or
more vector quantities
Resultant Vector

A Resultant vector is the

vector that results from
the addition of two or
more vectors

Graphical Vector Addition
3 forces act on an object at the same
time. Fnet is not 15 N because these
forces aren’t working together. But 8N
they’re not completely opposing each 4N
either. So how do find Fnet ? The
answer is to add the vectors ... not their
magnitudes, but the vectors themselves.
There are two basic ways to add
vectors: 1. Tip to tail method
2. Parallelogram method
Tip to Tail Method 20 N
in-line examples
Place the tail of one vector at the 16 N
tip of the other. The vector sum
12 N (also called the resultant) is shown
in red. It starts where the black
vector began and goes to the tip of 20 N 16 N
21 N the blue one. In these cases, the
vector sum represents the net force. 4N
9 N You can only add or subtract
magnitudes when the vectors are
12 N in-line!
Tip to Tail – 2 Vectors
To add the red and blue displacement vectors first note:
• Vectors can only be added if they are of the same
quantity—in this case, displacement.

• The magnitude of the resultant must be less than

7 m (5 + 2 = 7) and greater than 3 m (5 - 2 = 3). 2m

Interpretation: Walking 5 m in
the direction of the blue vector
and then 2 m in the direction of
the black one is equivalent to
walking in the direction of the red
vector. The distance walked this
way is the red vector’s
Commutative Property

As with scalars (ordinary numbers), the order of addition

is irrelevant with vectors. Note that the resultant (black
vector) is the same magnitude and direction in each case.
If you’ve drawn everything to scale, and drawn
the angles correctly, then you can simply measure
the resultant vector and (using your scale)
determine its magnitude.
Vector Properties
 Addition (Rule A+B = B+A)
A + B = C

Negative vector
just opposite

add negative vector
Tip to Tail – 3 Vectors

We can add 3 or more vectors

by placing them tip to tail in
any order, so long as they are of
the same type (force, velocity,
displacement, etc.).
Parallelogram Method
1. Create parallelogram using
“copies” of the two vectors
2. Draw Resultant vector from
tail of first vector to tip of last
3. You cannot add more than 2
vectors at a time with this
method, so…how do you add 3
or 4 vectors with this
Note: Opposite sides
of a parallelogram are
Comparison of Methods

The resultant has

the same
Tip to tail method magnitude and
regardless of the
method used.

Parallelogram method
Opposite of a Vector
If v is 17 m/s up and
v to the right, then -v
is 17 m/s down and to
the left. The
directions are
-v opposite; the
magnitudes are the
Algebraic Solution
Pythagorean Theorem
30.814 m/s
14.369 25
34 m/s
Since components always form a right triangle, the
Pythagorean theorem holds: (14.369)2 + (30.814)2 = (34)2.

Note that a component can be as long, but no longer, than

the vector itself. This is because the sides of a right
triangle can’t be longer than the hypotenuse.
Law of Cosines Θ

a R b

Law of Cosines: R2 = A2 + B2 - 2 AB cos Θ

These two sides are repeated.

This side is always opposite this angle.

It matters not which side is called A, B, and R, so long as the two
rules above are followed. This law is like the Pythagorean theorem
with a built in correction term of -2 AB cos Θ . This term allows us
to work with non-right triangles. Note if Θ = 90, this term drops
out (cos 90 = 0), and we have the normal Pythagorean theorem.
Example Vector Problem

 A motorboat heads due east at 16 m/s

across a river that flows due north at 9.0
 What is the resultant velocity of the
 If the river is 136 m wide, how long
does it take the motorboat to reach the
other side?
Graphical Solution

 Draw vectors, tip to tail

 Using your scale, measure length of R

9 m/s

16 m/s
Solution : Algebraic Method
• What is the resultant velocity of the
boat? A2 + B2 = C2
• (9 m/s)2 + (16 m/s)2 = R2
Solution: Calculation of time
• If the river is 136 m wide, how
long does it take the motorboat to
reach the other side?
• V = Δd/Δt
• 16 m/s = 136 m/t
• 136 m /16 m/s =Δt
• t = 8.5 s
Example Vector Problem

An airplane is flying 200

mph at 50°. Wind velocity
is 50 mph at 270°. What
is the velocity of the plane?

o o
180 0


o o
180 0


o o
180 0


o o
180 0

Practice Problems

 P.67 1-4 Your turn!!

4.2 Components of Vectors

 Any vector directed in two

dimensions can be thought of as
having two parts
 Each part of a two-dimensional
vector is known as a component.
 The single two-dimensional vector
could be replaced by the two
Vector Components

150 N

Horizontal component

Ay=vertical Ay A
component of
vector A

Ax=horizontal component of vector A

Component Vectors

 Ax = A cos Θ cos Θ = Adjacent side

Ay = A sin Θ sin Θ = Opposite side
tan Θ = Opposite side
Adjacent side

Remember…SOH CAH TOA

Finding Components with
Trig Multiply the magnitude of the original vector
by the sine & cosine of the angle made with the
horizontal. The units of the components are the
same as the units for the original vector.

v Here’s the
v sin 


 cosine  adjacent side

v cos  sine  opposite side
Component Example
-30.814 m/s
-14.369 205
34 m/s
A helicopter is flying at 34 m/s at 25 S of W (south of west). The
magnitude of the horizontal component is 34 cos 205  -30.814
m/s. This is how fast the copter is traveling to the west. The
magnitude of the vertical component is 34 sin 205  -14.369 m/s.
This is how fast it’s moving to the south.

Note that 30.814 + 14.369 > 34. Adding up vector components gives
the original vector (green + red = black), but adding up the
magnitudes of the components is meaningless.
Wonder Woman Jet Problem
Suppose Wonder Woman is flying her invisible jet. Her onboard
controls display a velocity of 304 mph 10 E of N. A wind blows at
195 mph in the direction of 32 N of E. What is her velocity with
respect to Aqua Man, who is resting poolside down on the ground?
vWA = vel. of Wonder Woman w/ resp. to the air
vAG = vel. of the air w/ resp. to the ground (and Aqua Man)
vWG = vel. of Wonder Woman w/ resp. to the ground (and Aqua Man)
We know the first two vectors; we need to
find the third. First we’ll find it using the
laws of sines & cosines, then we’ll check
the result using components. Either way,
we need to make a vector diagram.
continued on next slide
Wonder Woman Jet Problem (cont.)

32 32
80 100



vWA + vAG = vWG 80

The 80 angle at the lower right is the complement of the 10 angle.
The two 80 angles are alternate interior. The 100 angle is the
supplement of the 80 angle. Now we know the angle between red
and blue is 132. continued on next slide
Wonder Woman Jet Problem (cont.)
The law of cosines says: v2 = (304)2 + (195)2 - 2 (304) (195) cos 132
So, v = 458 mph. Note that the last term above appears negative, but
it’s really positive, since cos 132 < 0. The law of sines says:

sin 132 sin 

v 195
132 So, sin  = 195 sin 132 / 458, and   18.45

v This means the angle between green and

the horizontal is 80 - 18.45  61.6

Therefore, from Aqua Man’s perspective, Wonder

 Woman is flying at 458 mph at 61.6 N of E.
Wonder Woman Problem: Component Method
This time we’ll add vectors via components as we’ve done before.
Note that because of the angles given here, we use cosine for the
vertical comp. of red but sine vertical comp. of blue. All units are mph.




continued on next slide 52.789

Wonder Woman: Component Method (cont.)
Combine vertical & horiz. comps. separately and use Pythag. theorem.
 = tan-1 (218.1584 / 402.7159) = 28.4452.  is measured from the
vertical, which is why it’s 10 more than  was.
218.1584 mph
52.789 165.3694

103.3343 103.3343

Comparison of Methods

We ended up with same result for Wonder Woman doing it in two

different ways. Each way requires some work. You can only use
the laws of sines & cosines if:
• you’re dealing with exactly 3 vectors. (If you’re adding three
vectors, the resultant makes 4, and this method won’t work
• the vectors form a triangle.
Regardless of the method, draw a vector diagram! To determine
which two vectors add to the third, use the subscript trick.
 END of Ch 4