Lesson 13: Vectors in One Dimension
Up to this point we have been focusing on the number crunching sort of questions you can do in
physics.
●
In this chapter the focus will start to be shifted toward more complicated problems that might
not always be solved by just “plugging numbers into a formula.”
●
For this reason, we will start to use
vector diagrams
as a way to organize our information and
to help us solve our problems.
●
As we start to use these diagrams, keep in mind that we are drawing diagrams that truly
represent the motion of the object.
As we learned back in
Lesson 8
, just about anything you measure in Physics can be divided into two
categories:
scalars
and
vectors
.
Scalars
: Any measurement that is given as a single number, and nothing else. It has
magnitude
, but no direction.
Vectors:
A measurement that is given as a number and a direction. It has
magnitude
and
direction
.
We often use arrows to represent vectors. In fact, for the rest of the course you should see them as
being interchangeable; an arrow in a diagram is a vector.
●
When you have several of these vectors drawn together, you have a vector diagram.
●
Although vector diagrams are drawn for different reasons in different kinds of problems, the
rules that govern how they are drawn are always the same.
Vector Drawing Rules
1.
The vector is drawn pointing in the direction of the vector
. This is probably the key feature
of what makes a vector a vector.
..
direction
. If an object is moving East, you better make sure
that the arrow points East. Always remember that when a direction is written down with the
magnitude of a measurement, the direction should appear in square brackets.
2.
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 Fall '08
 Staff
 Physics, Addition, Vectors, 4 km, 10 km, 6 km

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