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Unit Vectors and Vector Components 
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#1
Oct3013, 05:59 PM

P: 34

I remember in my first year physics classes, when dealing with a force F we would find the vector's x and ycomponents using [tex]F_x=r cos(θ)[/tex] and [tex]F_y=r sin(θ)[/tex] I also remember learning in my mathematics classes about unit vectors, but cannot seem to remember using them to break vectors down into their respective x and ycomponents. As such, I thought I'd ask this question: Am I correct in thinking that when using a Cartesian coordinate system to describe a force F, if we find the unit vector for F, are the x and y components of this unit vector equivalent to [tex]cos(θ)[/tex] and [tex]sin(θ)[/tex] respectively?



#2
Oct3013, 07:18 PM

Mentor
P: 21,258

Think about it. F_{x} = F cos(θ) F_{y} = F sin(θ) To get unit vectors, divide each of the above by its magnitude, F. 


#3
Nov113, 05:28 PM

P: 34

Great, thank you.



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