- #1

ALRedEye

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## Homework Statement

I'm having trouble understanding why we solve vector components (i and j, or the horizontal and vertical legs) like a right triangle?

An example would be a 5-4-3 triangle. If 5 N was the force vector I am solving for then I would end up with 4 N in the horizontal direction and 3 N in the vertical direction. The part I don't understand is how the sum of the legs can equal more than the original force? To me it seems like i^2 + j^2 > (the original force vector)^2 and i + j = (the original force vector) makes more sense.

When I try and relate this to the real world I'm thinking maybe that 5 N force is me pushing on a box at a -53 degree angle. So that means the box is moving at 4 N along the floor and 3 N into the floor, but I'm misunderstanding how these components relate to each other since the total of the two components is 7 N and I'm only pushing at 5 N.

I'd really appreciate some help wrapping my head around this!

(Sorry if I posted to the wrong category)