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!

Very Easy Vector Addition

  1. Sep 30, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I am not sure where I am having trouble here.

    A car id driven 125km west and then 95km southwest. What is the mag and direction of displacement?

    2. Relevant equations
    Triangle method says that if I draw the vectors from tip to tail, the displacement vector is the vector that connects the tail of the first vector to the head of the last one.

    3. The attempt at a solution I am assuming (hopefully correctly!) that magnitude is just 230km, but I cannot sem to find direction.

    If it were 125 west and 95 south of west I could figure it out, but it is 125 west and 95 southwest....so I can't use arctan can I?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2007 #2
    Wait...after looking at it again, I think the magnitude is wrong too...
  4. Sep 30, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It probably isn't correct. Split both displacements into west and south components using sin and cos. Then add the west and south components separately. Finally, you use arctan.
  5. Sep 30, 2007 #4
    I thought of that but I am not given any angles?
  6. Sep 30, 2007 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    95km southwest is 95*sin(45)km west plus 95*sin(45)km south. Does that help? Your final displacement should be mostly west and some south. How much of each? So for an angle you could just say how many degrees south of west is it.
  7. Sep 30, 2007 #6
    Wait...is it safe to assume that when they say southwest they mean exactly 45 degrees between west and south?.....I am going to bank on that being the case.

    Edit:Thanks Dick! It took me awhile to type that...but it appears you confirmed my idea. I should be able to get this from here.
  8. Sep 30, 2007 #7
    So (95sin45)^2+(95cos45+125)^2=mag and the angle would be
    arctan (abs value[(95sin45)/(125+95cos45)]) south of west.
  9. Sep 30, 2007 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Right. Except that's mag^2. Don't forget the sqrt.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Very Easy Vector Addition
  1. Vector addition (Replies: 3)

  2. Vectors addition (Replies: 10)