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Vector components resolution

  1. Jul 24, 2007 #1
    What's the definition of "vector components"? I mean that when I resolve a vector into two components, my teacher taught us to find its x-component which is on x-axis and y-component on y-axis, so if it be the case, then this vector must not be on either x-axis or y-axis but between. So is that the components of a vector must be on x-axis and y-axis? Or it may depends, as long as the two components are perpendicular to each other, and the vector is between them, it's okay?
    Hope you can tell me, thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2007 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Vectors are defined with components along mutually perpendicular axes. In the most elementary 2-d case, these are the x and y axes. However as you learn more about it, you will learn about axis rotations, where the axes are replaced by other mutually perpendicular directions.
  4. Jul 24, 2007 #3

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    Why do you say that? Why can't a vector have an x or y component equal to zero?
    The components--by definition--are along their axes.
    The x and y components will always be perpendicular to each other--but the complete vector can point in any direction.
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