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Calculus and Vectors How to get an A+

6.5 Vectors in R2 and R3

A Polar Coordinates
Given a Cartesian system of coordinates, a 2D
r
r
vector v may be defined by its magnitude || v || and
the counter-clockwise angle between the
positive direction of the x-axis and the vector.

Ex 1. Express each vector in polar coordinates in the

r
r
form v = (|| v ||, ) .

r
The pair (|| v ||, ) determines the polar coordinates
r
r
of the 2D vector and v = (|| v ||, ) .

Ex 2. Express each vector in scalar coordinates in the

B Scalar Components for a 2D Vector
r
Let consider a 2D vector with the tail in the origin of form v = (v x , v y ) .
the Cartesian system. Parallels through its tip to
the coordinates axes intersect the x-axis at v x and
the y-axis at v x .

The pair (v x , v y ) determines the scalar coordinates

r
of the 2D vector and v = (v x , v y ) .
C Link between the Polar Coordinates and
Scalar Components
To convert a vector from the polar coordinates
r
r
r
v = (|| v ||, ) to the scalar components v = (v x , v y ) ,
use the formulas:

Ex 3. Do the required conversions.

r
a) Convert a = (10,120) to the scalar coordinates.

r
v x =|| v || cos
r
v y =|| v || sin

To convert a vector from the scalar components

r
r
r
v = (v x , v y ) to the polar coordinates v = (|| v ||, ) ,

r
b) Convert b = (4,7) to the polar coordinates.

use the formulas:

r
|| v ||= v x 2 + v y 2 (to get the magnitude)
tan =

vy
vx

6.5 Vectors in R and R

2010 Iulia & Teodoru Gugoiu - Page 1 of 4

D Magnitude of a 2D Algebraic Vector

r
The magnitude of a 2D algebraic vector v = (v x , v y )

Ex 4. Find the magnitude of the following 2D vector:

r
v = (4,3) .

is given by:
r
|| v ||= v x 2 + v y 2

E Standard Unit Vectors

r
r
The unit vectors i = (1,0) and j = (0,1) are called the
standard unit vectors in 2D space. See the figure to
the right.

F Vector Components for a 2D Vector

r
Any vector v may be decomposed into two
perpendicular vector components v x and v y ,

r
r
r
Ex 5. Convert the vector v = 2i + 5 j into the form
r
v = (v x , v y ) .

parallel to each of the standard unit vectors.

r
v = vx + v y
r
Ex 6. Convert the vector v = (4,6) into the form
r
r
r
v = vx i + v y j .

The link between the scalar components and the

vector components is given by:
r
vx = vxi
r
vy = vy j

r
Ex 7. Find the vector components for a = (3,5) .

A 2D vector may be written in algebraic form as:

r
r
r
v = v x + v y = v x i + v y j = (v x , v y )
G Position 2D Vector
The directed line segment OP , from the origin O to
a generic point P( x, y ) determines a vector called
the position vector and:
r r
OP = ( x, y ) = xi + yj
H Displacement 2D Vector
The directed line segment AB from the point
A( x A , y A ) to the point B ( x B , y B ) determines a
vector called the displacement vector and:

A(2,3) .

Ex 9. Find the algebraic displacement vector MN , where

M (2,1) and N (0,2) . Draw a diagram.

r
r
AB = ( x B x A , y B y A ) = ( x B x A )i + ( y B y A ) j

6.5 Vectors in R and R

2010 Iulia & Teodoru Gugoiu - Page 2 of 4

Calculus and Vectors How to get an A+

I Direction Angles
Let consider a 3D coordinate system and a 3D
r
vector v with the tail in the origin O .
Direction angles are the angles , , and
between the vector and the positive directions of
the coordinates axes:

J Scalar Components of a 3D Vector

r
Let consider a 3D coordinate system and a 3D vector v with
the tail in the origin O . Parallel planes through its tip to the
coordinates planes intersect the x-axis at v x the y-axis at v y ,
and the y-axis at v z .

The triple (v x , v y , v z ) determines the scalar components of

r
the 3D vector and v = (v x , v y , v z ) .
r
r
K Link between the Direction Angles and the 3D Ex 10. The magnitude of a vector a is || a ||= 20 and the
r
r
Scalar Coordinates
direction angles are = (a , Ox) = 60 , = (a , Oy ) = 45 ,
The link between the direction angles ( , , and
r
r
and = (a , Oz ) = 60 . Write the vector a in the algebraic
) and the scalar components of a vector ( v x , v y ,
form (using the scalar components).
and v z ) is given by:

r
v x =|| v || cos
r
v y =|| v || cos
r
v z =|| v || cos

Ex 11. Find the direction angles for the vector

r
r r
r
u = 2i + 3 j k .

and by:
r
|| v ||= v x 2 + v y 2 + v z 2
v
cos = rx
|| v ||
vy
cos = r
|| v ||
v
cos = rz
|| v ||

Note that:
cos 2 + cos 2 + cos 2 = 1

L Magnitude of a 3D Algebraic Vector

The magnitude of a 3D algebraic vector
r
v = (v x , v y , v z ) is given by:

r
Ex 12. Find the magnitude for the vector v = (2,3,4) .

r
|| v ||= v x 2 + v y 2 + v z 2

6.5 Vectors in R and R

2010 Iulia & Teodoru Gugoiu - Page 3 of 4

M 3D Standard Unit Vectors

r
r
The unit vectors i = (1,0,0) , j = (0,1,0) ,
r
k = (0,0,1) and are called the standard unit vectors
in 3D space. See the figure to the right.
N Vector Components for a 3D Vector
r
Any 3D vector v may be decomposed into three
perpendicular vector components v x , v y and v z ,

r
r
r
r
Ex 13. Convert the vector v = 3i 4 j + 2k into the form
r
v = (v x , v y , v z ) .

parallel to each of the 3D standard unit vectors.

r
v = vx + v y + vz
r
Ex 14. Convert the vector v = (3,4,5) into the form
r
r
r
r
v = vx i + v y j + vz k .

r
Ex 15. Find the vector components for a = (4,0,3) .

The link between the scalar components and the

vector components is given by:
r
r
r
vx = vxi , v y = v y j , vz = vz k
A 3D vector may be written in algebraic form as:
r
r
r
r
v = v x + v y + v z = v x i + v y j + v z k = (v x , v y , v z )
O Position 3D Vector
The directed line segment OP , from the origin O to
a generic point P( x, y, z ) determines a vector called
the position vector and:
r
v r
OP = ( x, y, z ) = xi + yj + zk

P Displacement 3D Vector
The directed line segment AB from the point
A( x A , y A , z A ) to the point B ( x B , y B , z B ) determines
a vector called the displacement vector and:

Ex 16. Find the algebraic position vector OP , where

P(3,2,4) . Draw a diagram.

Ex 17. Find the algebraic displacement vector PQ , where

P (1,2,3) and Q(2,3,4) .

AB = ( x B x A , y B y A , z B z A )
r
r
r
= ( x B x A )i + ( y B y A ) j + ( z B z A ) k