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Homework Help: Resultant Force equation help

  1. Nov 10, 2007 #1
    What type of equation would I use to find the resultant force?

    Do I just add the vectors together? Or change them to X and Y variable?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2007 #2
    You could resolve each vector into x and y components, add the components and "unresolve" the 2 components back into a vector.
  4. Nov 10, 2007 #3


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    You can't just algebraically add them, since in general they have different directions. Split each vector into its x and y components, then add the x components together to get Rx, and add the y components together to get Ry, and use pythagorus to get the magnitude of the resultant force (R = sq. rt. of (Rx^2 + Ry^2)), and use trig to get the direction of the resultant force (Ry/Rx=tan theta.)
  5. Nov 10, 2007 #4
    If they are collinear you can just add them, as long as you take sign into account. Otherwise, it is best to resolve them into x,y,and z components.
  6. Nov 10, 2007 #5
    Thank you!!!! I've been looking through my text book for an hour!!!! I remeber my teacher telling me about that.
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