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Components of weights

  1. Nov 23, 2014 #1
    Im a little confused with this question, i can't quite seem to get the hang of it. I understand that you have to use a triangle and i understand that you need to use trigonometry, but what exactly am i even working out? What is the question asking?

    The image below shows the question, i am having difficulty mainly with part B (i):

    579170e117432fd87bf8ac5a91c52be3.png

    If the image doesn't display go here: http://i.gyazo.com/579170e117432fd87bf8ac5a91c52be3.png
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2014 #2

    gneill

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    Staff: Mentor

    You are looking to find the component of the weight vector that is parallel to the slope.

    Vector components are usually taken to be perpendicular to each other (in a Cartesian co-ordiinate scheme). So in this case there will be a component perpendicular to the slope and one parallel to the slope, forming a right angle triangle with the weight vector as the hypotenuse.
     
  4. Nov 23, 2014 #3

    haruspex

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    ##m\vec g## acts vertically downwards, right? But if you decide on a co-ordinate system which has one co-ordinate down the slope (parallel to it) and the other perpendicular to the slope then you can resolve ##m\vec g## into two components in those two directions. The sum of those two, as vectors, is completely equivalent to ##m\vec g##.
    Do you understand how to find a component of a vector at a given angle to it?
     
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