1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Problem with vectors 2

  1. Jan 7, 2013 #1
    Three vectors

    a = xi - 3j + 9K
    b = -3i + xj - 10K
    c = 9i - 10j + xk

    Find the largest value of x for which the magnitude of the resultant is equal to 17.
    I am given the correct answer of 8.564 but i dont know how to get that.

    I have no working out to show for this as i dont know where to start, but some advice would be helpful

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 7, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    How do you work out the resultant of two vectors?
  4. Jan 7, 2013 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I'm not sure that mentioning the "resultant of two vectors" will help here at all- except, of course, to point out that it is just as easy to find the resultant of three vectors!

    MMCS, do you understand that the "resultant" of any number of vectors is just their sum? Do you understand that you can sum vectors "component wise"- that is just by adding the i, j, and k components separately? What do you get for the resultant of these three vectors? (There will, of course, be an "x" in each component.)

    What is the magnitude of that resultant? That will be a forumula with terms involving "x". Set that equal to 17 and solve for x.
  5. Jan 7, 2013 #4
    ok so once i complete the addition of i, j and k and then square the brackets and squared 17 to eliminate square root i get

    (x^2 + 12x + 36) + ( X^2 + 14x + 49) + (x^2 - 2x + 1) = 289

    Addition of brackets

    x^6 + 24x + 86 = 289

    Is this correct? can this be solved?
  6. Jan 7, 2013 #5
    You summed the j hat components wrong. Also, ##x^2 + x^2 + x^2 = 3 x^2##
  7. Jan 7, 2013 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You shouldn't have an x^6 there. try that last step again.
  8. Jan 7, 2013 #7
    Oh right i never noticed that, good spot, so now i have,

    3x^2 - 16x + 206
  9. Jan 7, 2013 #8
    Yes. Assuming you didn't subtract the 289 yet.
  10. Jan 7, 2013 #9
    Thats it, finally got it, Thanks for you help!!
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads - Problem vectors Date
Vector problem Mar 9, 2016
Advanced Vector Problem: Ships Jan 23, 2016
Unit vector problem Sep 29, 2015
Vector problem Apr 29, 2015