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Homework Help: Conceptual Question For Vectors

  1. Mar 13, 2012 #1
    For three vectors to add up to zero, what must be true of the magnitudes of the three vectors? Hint: Draw a diagram of the addition of three vectors to make a vector of zero length. Think of what geometrical relationship they must have.
    a. All the magnitudes must be equal.
    b. One of the magnitudes must be greater than the sum of the other two.
    c. One of the magnitudes must be at least twice as great as each of the other two.
    d. One of the magnitudes must be less than the difference of the other two.
    e. The sum of two of the magnitudes must be greater than or equal to the third for all three vectors.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2012 #2
    hi willmac welcome to PF

    What geometrical relationship do you think they must have?
  4. Mar 13, 2012 #3
    I feel like they are going to make a right triangle, but I was thinking the answer was e. If the vectors go in opposite directions well at least one of the longest ones has to be negative and the other two have to add up in order to be equivalent to the longest one so when the vectors combine they make zero.
  5. Mar 13, 2012 #4
    Well, does it have to be a right triangle? If the sum of some set of vectors equals zero, that means that they end up where they started, basically.

    But thinking about it as a triangle is the right way to go I think. Imagine some triangles, like a right triangle and an equilateral triangle, ones where you know the relationship between the lengths of their sides. Then apply those options to those triangles and see which rule works for all the triangles you can think of.
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