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Classification of Three-Dimensional Forces/Vectors

  1. Aug 2, 2012 #1
    Hi, I am an Engineering Student and my professor is insisting that we read about the different types and classifications of three-dimensional forces. I have been scouring the world wide web for more than 3 days now, even checked physics books but I can't find even one type or classification of 3-dimensional force/vector.

    Can anyone please point me to the right direction?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2012 #2
    The only classification that exists is the four fundamental forces: Gravity, Electromagnetism and the Strong/Weak interaction. In engineering you'll only ever encounter two of these, and even then you really just look at things in a classical view where forces are just kind of simplified abstractions.

    The high school definition "a force is a push or a pull" will do fine for your needs I imagine. A more technical definition is a force is the gradient of any scalar potential field.
  4. Aug 3, 2012 #3
    Thanks Dipole for the reply.

    I am just confused, is three-dimensional forces the same with three-dimensional vectors?Because, if I understand it correctly, force is a vector quantity.

    Based on what you said, there are only four fundamental classification of forces, how about classifications and types of three-dimensional vectors?

    Thanks again in advance!
  5. Aug 3, 2012 #4
    Vectors can be polar and axial. You can find details on the web.
  6. Aug 3, 2012 #5
    @voko, I did a quick search on polar and axial vectors and I can't find the relationship of these two with the three-dimensional forces/vectors. It would be greatly appreciated if you could please expound on this.

    @dipole, I also did some search regarding the classifications that you mentioned, and it turns out that those four are the only forces in nature, so they can be 1-dimensional, 2-dimensional, 3 or more dimensional forces.

    I am still in the dark with the types and classifications of three-dimensional forces/vectors if they even exists.

  7. Aug 3, 2012 #6
    Searching Category:Force on wikipedia will yield an extensive list.

    Like dipole said the only canonical classification of forces is the four fundamental interactions.

    Common engineering terminology includes: compression and tension forces in statics; centripetal, centrifugal, and Coriolis forces in dynamics; pressure, viscous, and capillary forces in fluid mechanics; and shear and normal forces in continuum mechanics.
  8. Aug 3, 2012 #7
    Well I am not sure what your professor meant, perhaps you could tell us more about which class this was in?

    Meanwhile you might like to look up direct, inertial, body, normal, tangential, tensile, compressive, shear and impulsive forces.
  9. Aug 3, 2012 #8
    Actually, I am lost myself. We were only told to research on vectors and three-dimensional forces/vectors and site examples of each type and/or classifications. If I am not mistaken our physics class as of now is more on classical mechanics as we've been touching force (resultant forces), acceleration, newton's second law of motion, motion and changing velocity, circular motions, coplanar forces, etc.

    I even found the suggested reference book - College Physics (2007) by Giambattista et al and still can't find any mention of the types and/or classification of three-dimensional forces/vectors.

    It seems like I hit a wall here as I have no idea what to read or research that's why I seek the advise of the experienced and knowledgeable minds of this forum.

    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  10. Aug 3, 2012 #9
    Classification schemes, by themselves are not important.

    But have you looked up the terms that have been provided and do you now understand them?
  11. Aug 3, 2012 #10
    The relationship is most direct: any 3D vector is either polar or axial. Any 3D force is a polar vector.
  12. Aug 3, 2012 #11
    That's the reason why I am at lost right now. There are no terms provided, except for the following: a) vectors and 3-dimensional forces, b) types and classifications of three-dimensional forces/vectors and site examples of each.

    It seems to me now that there are no types or classification of three-dimensional forces/vectors.
  13. Aug 3, 2012 #12
    what I meant to say is relationship of polar and axial with the types and/or classification of three-dimensional forces.

    As per a quick search and as per my understanding, polar vectors are those which have a starting point or point of application like displacement, so it doesn't necessarily mean that it is three dimensional, it can also be 2 dimensional, while axial vectors are those that have rotation or something of similar effect.

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