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Homework Help: Force and Vectors

  1. Nov 7, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    The wind exerts a force of 100N North on a sailboat, while the water exerts a force of 98N west on the sailboat. a)What is the magnitude of the net external force on the sailboat answer in units of N. b) How many degrees west of north is this net external force directed?

    2. Relevant equations
    Pythagorean Theorem, trig

    3. The attempt at a solution
    So to solve part a I used a²+b²=c², 100²+98²=c² and I got 140.014285 N
    Now I'm stuck on part b because when I draw the vectors, I have a vector going straight up(100N) and a vector attached to its tail going to the left(98N). I don't know which angle they are asking for.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2009 #2
    They're asking for the angle from the x-axis to the vector that the vector sum makes. The vector sum isn't the two vectors you mentioned head to tail. It is the hypotenuse between the two.
  4. Nov 7, 2009 #3
    but i did find the hypotenuse of the two vectors. But when I use the angle the resultant makes with the x axis its wrong.
  5. Nov 8, 2009 #4
    Without you showing your work, we can't show you where you went wrong. What answer did you get?
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