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Chapter 4: Vectors

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

Shows two images of a car drifting, one without vectors showing forces and one with

Credit: Ciaransmith, modified by CK-12 Foundation
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mark_Luney_Nissan_350z.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Drifting is a driving technique in which the driver intentionally over-steers while cornering—causing loss of traction in the rear wheels—but still maintains control. Though the wheels indicate the car is traveling in one direction, it is actually traveling a different way. Regardless, the car’s motion can be described by its speed and direction. Some quantities do not have a direction associated with them. Mass, for example, is a measured number but has no associated direction. The quantities that do require direction are called vectors. All forces that act on objects are vector quantities, and most objects are acted upon by multiple forces. To understand how the object moves under influence of multiple forces, it is often necessary to sum up different vectors. This chapter explains vectors, as well as how to break them down and add them together.

Chapter Outline

Chapter Summary

Vectors in one direction can be added arithmetically, and those in different directions can be added geometrically or broken down into their components before being added. Perpendicular components of vectors have no influence on each other, and addition of perpendicular vectors is easily accomplished with Pythagorean’s Theorem and trigonometric functions.

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Ciaransmith, modified by CK-12 Foundation; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mark_Luney_Nissan_350z.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0


Date Created:

Oct 11, 2013

Last Modified:

Sep 18, 2015
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