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Homework Help: Rectangular scalar components

  1. Oct 11, 2006 #1

    In the question that I'm working on it says to resolve v1 and v2 into rectangular scalar components but i have no idea what a rectangular scalar component is and i can't find it in my text book. if anyone could tell me what they are that would be very helpful!

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2006 #2


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    Say you have a vector [itex]\vec{v}[/itex]. It can be written as [itex]\vec{v}=(v_x,v_y)[/itex] or, using the unit vectors in the directions of the x-axis and y-axis, [itex]\hat{x}[/itex] and [itex]\hat{y}[/itex] (sometimes also noted [itex]\vec{i}[/itex] and [itex]\vec{j}[/itex]) as [itex]\vec{v}=v_x\hat{x}+v_y\hat{y}[/itex].

    In either case, we call [itex]v_x[/itex] and [itex]v_y[/itex] the recatangular scalar components of [itex]\vec{v}[/itex].

    Is it clear?
  4. Oct 11, 2006 #3
    Yes, now it is clear, thank you for your help, i really appreciate it :)
  5. Oct 11, 2006 #4


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    A rectangular scalar components of a vector in a 2D plane are the magnitude of the projection of the vector onto the x or y axis, respectively. Given a vector V that has a magnitude of V and that makes an angle [tex]\theta[/tex] with the x axis, then the scalar component of the vector along the x axis is [tex] Vcos\theta[/tex], and the scalar component of the vector along the y axis is [tex] Vsin\theta[/tex].
  6. Oct 11, 2006 #5
    okay, thanks that helps a lot for trying to find the x and y components. thank you
  7. Oct 11, 2006 #6
    z-axis components

    Hey, I'm just wondering if i need to find scalar components for a magnitude on the z-axis, do i go about the same way i would with regual x,y compenents, or is there something else that i need to do??

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