Dot product and vectors

  • Thread starter baokhuyen
  • Start date
  • #1
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Homework Statement


I get confused with this problems
show that the vector (orth of b onto a) = (b - proj of b onto a) is orthogonal to a.


Homework Equations





The Attempt at a Solution


(b-proj of b onto a) dot a = 0
and I got stuck!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
matt grime
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Perhaps if you wrote out what "proj of b onto a" was in vector terms it would become easier.
 
  • #3
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For example, I say:
(b- a(a.b)/a^2).a=0
(b-(a.b)/a).a=0
a.b-a.((a.b)/a)=0
How can I do next?
 
  • #4
HallsofIvy
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For example, I say:
(b- a(a.b)/a^2).a=0
You are not being careful to distinguish between vectors and numbers. The first "a" of "a(a.b)/a^2" is a vector while "a^2" is a number- the square of the length of a. You are trying to cancel them!

(b-(a.b)/a).a=0
with the result that you get this, which makes no sense! Does "(a.b)/a" mean you are dividing by a vector?

a.b-a.((a.b)/a)=0
How can I do next?
[tex]\left(\vec{b}- \frac{\vec{a}\cdot\vec{b}}{|a|^2}\vec{a}\right)\cdot\vec{a}[/tex]
[tex]\vec{b}\cdot\vec{a}- \frac{\vec{a}\cdot\vec{b}}{|a|^2}(\vec{a}\cdot\vec{a})[/tex]
Now, what is that equal to?
 

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