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Name:__________________________
Date:___________________________
Mr. Croom’s
Physics
Addition and Resolution of Vectors Lab
The Addition and Resolution of Vectors:
The Force Table
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.
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.
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 Spring '11
 MRs.PRUDENCE

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