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Lab #2
The Addition and Resolution of Vectors: The Force
Table
Readings
Before you begin this laboratory assignment, you should complete the homework
assignments for this lesson and read chapter 3 sections 2, 4 of the textbook with
emphases on.
Objectives
After completing this lab, you will be able to:
1. Add a set of vectors graphically to find the resultant.
2. Add a set of vectors analytically to find the resultant.
3. Appreciate the differences between graphical and analytical methods of vector
addition.
Introduction
Physical quantities are generally classified as being scalar or vector quantities. The
distinction is simple. A scalar quantity is one with a magnitude only for example, speed
(
55 mph
) and time (
3 hrs
). A vector quantity on the other hand has both magnitude and
direction. Such quantities include displacement, velocity, acceleration and force, for
example, a velocity of
55 mph
north or a force of
20 N
along the
+y
axis.
Because vectors have the property of direction, the common method of addition, scalar
addition, is not applicable to vector quantities. To find the resultant or vector sum of two
or more vectors, special methods of vector addition are used, which may be graphical
and/or analytical. Two of these methods will be described, and we will investigate the
addition of force vectors. The result of graphical and analytical methods will be
compared with the experimental results obtained from the force table. The experimental
arrangement of forces (vectors) will physically illustrate the principles of the methods of
vector addition.
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View Full Document Triangle (Head to Tail) Method
Vectors are represented graphically by arrows. The length of a vector arrow (drawn to
scale on graph paper) is proportional to the magnitude of the vector, and the arrow points
in the direction of the vector.
The length scale is arbitrary and usually selected for convenience and so that the vector
graph fits nicely on the graph paper. A typical scale for a force vector might be
1 cm = 10 N
. That is each centimeter of vector length represents ten newtons. The scale
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This note was uploaded on 09/02/2010 for the course PHYS MERR1 taught by Professor Carter during the Spring '10 term at UMass (Amherst).
 Spring '10
 Carter
 mechanics, Force, Work

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