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Annual Symposium of the Institute for Solids Mechanics of the Romanian Academy

Bucharest, May 15-16, 2003



The bound geometrical and non-geometrical vectors are introduced in matrix form, as an extension of the matrix
mechanics, after a short introduction to the general geometry of m-hyperspace linear transforms. Properties of linear
transforms are studied, with the conclusion that the two-column matrix bound vectors are well suited for most of such
transform. The behavior of vector products, as matrix transforms are also derived. Spectra of the rotation matrices are
further analyzed, on the ground of the invariantive properties of rigid rotational transforms. It is recognized a natural
connection between the eigen-vectors of such matrices and the angular velocity vector. The observation is extended to
the problems of rotations and symmetries in a plane and illustrated with numerical examples.


Any given column vector X of a m-dimensional hyperspace may be replaced, in the most general
geometric transform, by a different, image vector , when multiplied by a given square matrix A and then
added to a given vector B of the m-dimensional hyperspace, according to the formula

A X B alk xk bk k .


Here the columns-lines matrix product rule is used to derive the new, image vector .
Thus any given non-singular, quadrate mm matrix A can always be viewed, in consequence of (1), as
an operator for a geometric transform of a m-dimensional continuum distribution in a m-dimensional vector
hyperspace, by the columns-lines rule. A is called the transform matrix and is sometimes written as a
mixed second order tensor,

A alk alk ,

A X alk xk ,

A X alk xk ,

k 1


k 1

with l the index of lines and k the index for columns. This renders the rule (1) in the tensor form (3)

a x


bl ; l alk xk bl .


k 1

The transform is generally accompanied by a specific deformation of the source distribution.

To perceive in detail the geometry, a convenient referential or base {Oel} is supposed being attached
to the hyperspace, consisting of m independent, unit vectors (versors) el, originating from O. Convenient for
the mechanics of rigid bodies, the adopted base is usually of Cartesian orthogonal, or ortho-normal type.
Then, a given m-dimensional, single column matrix like X, B or , is seen, by definition, either as a
geometrically free vector, arbitrary floating through the space always parallel to itself, or as starting from the
referential origin O up to its tip, namely the particular hyperpoint P(x1, x2,...,xm). The coordinates of the tip
are thence the projections of the vector on the axes or its components. Such a mathematical description does
not permit to discern a particular origin or application point of a bound vector, the named situation requiring
a separate specification. Consequently a single column matrix X may be viewed as representing an isolated
hyperpoint in the hyperspace rather than a whole direction as customary. During the transform, any
individual source point P, like its position vector X, is moved in a new position or image hyperpoint (1,
2,...,m), matched to the new image vector .
The base versors suffer a similar transform, written as


*) University Politehnica of Bucharest, Department of Aerospace Sciences Elie Carafoli.

e' e'l ;

e'l lk xk .


k 1

where the matrix is the inverse of A and simultaneously its transpose,



When a given, single column, position vector is transformed according to (4) it appears like a
covariant vector, with the projections on the axes performed perpendicularly on each axis. When the position
vector is transformed according to (3), namely with the projections on the axes performed parallel to each
hyperplane of the other axes, it appears like a counter-variant vector. While the referential is ortho-normal,
the two definitions coincide.

1.1. Transforms for multiple position vectors

When a number of n distinct points Pk and their associated position vectors Xk are simultaneously
moved through the transform (2) into new positions, they may be grouped in a mn matrix. Then the
transform may be seen as performed through the mono-contracted matrix product of the transform matrix
and the new concatenated matrix, as in the formula

A [X1 X 2 ... X n ] 0 ,


or, in a developed form, by


a m1

a 22

... a1m x11 x12 ... x1n 11 12 ... 1n

... a 2 m x 21 x 22 ... x 2 n 21 22 ... 2 n

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

... a mm x m1 x m 2 ... x mn m1 m 2 ... mn


This way each k column of the rectangular (mn) matrix represents the corresponding column,
position vector Xk, affected by the transform, as its sub-matrix and the entire procedure stands for the
geometrical interpretation of the mono-contracted matrix product in general. The group of up to n column,
position vectors, aligned in the source matrix had received a new image as new column, position vectors,
aligned in the image (mn) matrix delivered.
Consequently the following geometrical interpretation of the linear transforms may hold in general:
any multiplied matrix may be considered as a mass of geometrical column vectors, concatenated column by
column, meaning an ordered set of point images into the hyperspace. Here we must note also that all the
components of any position vector, prior to and after the transform, are referenced exclusively to the same
original base {Oei}.
We may extend now this observation to the reference frame itself. That same {Oei} m-order base is
but built also of m ortho-normal defining versors and, before the transformation acts, the base is referenced
to itself. Thus it has the trivial representation of the unit matrix E, built on the Kronecker symbol elements
lk, as known

E [ lk ]

0 ... 0 1 0 ... 0
1 ... 0 0 1 ... 0

[e1 , e 2 ,, e m ] .
... ... ... ............

0 ... 1 0 0 ... 1


Each versor ek is the k column of matrix E. The geometrical meaning of operand matrix A results
now for clear. Observe that the transform (2), applied to E, gives the matrix A, formally unchanged,


a m1

a 22

... a1m 1 0 ... 0 a11

... a 2 m 0 1 ... 0 a 21

... ... ............ ...

... a mm 0 0 ... 1 a m1

a 22

... a1m
... a 2 m
... ...

... a mm


While the second term is always the image of the original base, we see that the columns of the
transform matrix A represent the versors of the transformed base as viewed from the original base.
Further this means that the elements of each of the columns of operator A are nothing but the
projections of the corresponding versor on the axes of the initial basis. This happens to be the reversed
significance of the elements of matrix A as compared to the original one, fact only possible when the
transform matrix is symmetrical and thus the property (4) is proved. This is especially important when a rigid
rotation transform is regarded, like e.g. in the mechanics of rigid bodies. The rigid rotation keeps constant,
by definition, the angle between any two position-vectors and consequently the module of any vector. Such
transforms will be further analyzed for two-dimensional applications.


2.1. Geometrical bound vectors.
As a direct derivation of the previous observations fact is retained that any two-column, (m2) matrix
W may be defined as representing two ordered points P and T in the hyperspace and consequently a bound

Bound vector:


p1 t1
p t
PT [ wlk ] 2 2 [p t ] .
... ...

pm t m


The corresponding position vector of the bounding point P of vector W or its pad, is P, while the tip of
the vector W is defined by the position vector T for the point T. This definition is consistent with any linear
transform of the hyperspace. Moreover, it acts as a more general definition as that of the usual, single
column, position vector, where the pad of the vector is simply the null, origine vector and thus omitted,

Position vector:

0 v1

0 v
[o v] (v ) v 2 .
V [vlk ]
... ...

0 vm


This transcription is equivalent with a translation of the vector to the origin, by virtue of the relation
vl t l pl | l 1,...m . The expressed vision also complies with the definition of the module of a vector,
when the actual formula (middle member below) is used, rather than the simplified and current formula (last
member below),


V t l pl vl .
l 1


l 1

These definitions come somehow as an augmentation of the efficient matrix mechanics of Staicu [2],
as further developed and may be interpreted as volatilizing the problem of separately specifying the origin of
a geometrical, bound vector. The idea is also applicable to the very usual non-geometrical vectors in

2.2. Non-geometrical bound vectors.
We just refer to non-geometrical vectors when dealing with oriented quantities of a different metric
than the usual geometric vectors, as for example: speed, force, acceleration and so on. The reference axes for
such vectors keep the same orientation as the geometrical axes, fact that usually creates a place for some
confusion. Anyhow this subject is worth of being fully penetrated in the literature. Obviously, the physical
quantities represented by such vectors are essentially different from the meaning of position vectors or the
other geometric vectors.
In the usual notations a non-geometrical vector is defined by


Non-geometrical vector: F ( f l )



and is considered as being represented in the same referential as the other all geometrical vectors, although
their metric is completely different. For example, a force vector can not be added to a position vector a. s. o.
property considered as explicit.
To overcome the uncertainty, a double column, mixed matrix expression is seen as better representing
such vector quantities, in the form


Bound, non-geometrical vector: F [ pl | f l ]




f m


The reference frame of the two parts is the same, consequently any linear transform acts unconstrained
upon the two column mixed matrix. In a physical meaning, the two parts of the matrix differ by a scalar
constant only, which represents the metric transform. Observe also that the second column vector itself in
(15) reflects the entire projections of the bound non-geometrical vector upon the axes, not only the tip of the
vector, as for the previous geometrical bound vectors in (11).
2.3. Case of vector products
The vector product is a typical example of a non-linear vector operation, very often used in mechanics.
For example, in the E3 Cartesian space, the classical definition of the first order moment MO of a given
vector F, bounded to the pad point A(rA) and evaluated in respect with the origin of the referential O(0,0,0),
is materialized by

M O (F) rA F z A
y A


y A f x y A f z z A f y

xA f y z A f x x A f z .
0 f z x A f y y A f x


It makes appeal to the associated matrix to the position vector rA which somewhat complicates the
transcription. In bound vector matrix format, it simply reads

Bound moment: M O (F) rA F 0


xA f x

yA f y
z f
A z

0 y A f z z A f y

0 z A f x x A f z ,
0 x f y f
A y
A x


where, in the second column, it is recognized the vector of algebraic complements of the initial two-column
concatenated vector of the first term,

Ax x A f x y A f z z A f y

Ax y A f y z A f x x A f z .
A z f x f y f
A x
x A z A y


It is no need now for the associated matrix of the position vector rA. When the pole of the moment is
not the referentials origin but rather an arbitrary point P(rP), the definition of the moment of vector F in P
gives the following result:


M P (F) PA F y P

xA xP f x

yA yP f y
z z f

xP ( y A y P ) f z ( z A z P ) f y

y P ( z A z P ) f x ( xA xP ) f z ,
z (x x ) f ( y y ) f


The rule for this computation required here a preliminary translation of the bound vector F in such a
manner that its origin be moved in a new point and in transforming the computational pole P in the new
origin of the referential. The continuation is in accord with (17).

An arbitrary, position vector facing the transform (2) is generally undergoing an elongation or a
contraction and a rotation also, in respect to the original aspect. It is nevertheless possible that some of the
vectors behave a special orientation, for which their support remains unchanged after the transform. Such
special vectors are then called eigen-vectors of the given operator matrix A. The term of translation is to this
discussion non-relevant and the property of an eigen-vector reads

A ,


where is the eigen-value of the matrix A for the eigen-vector . The rules to find and are well known.
Although the meaning of the eigen-vectors is usually not related to the rigid rotation velocity, we are able to
derive a direct connection between the eigen-vectors of a rigid rotation matrix and its angular velocity, at
least for the two-dimensional case.
The conditions are to be searched now, under which a planar, linear transform represents a rigid
rotation into the plane of the figure involved, where a reference frame {xOy} is first adopted at will. We may
see that the usually adopted condition to govern a rigid rotation (invariance of angles) requires a completion.
Let thus gradually construct the required conditions for a rigid, planar rotation.
3.1. The first, complex eigen-values condition
As the axis of rotation versor is in that case always normal to the plane, it presents no real components
into the given plane. The planar rotation matrix must consequently posses complex eigen-values only,
meaning that the secular equation
2 trA A 0
must have a negative discriminator, (trA) 2 4 (a11 a22 ) 2 4 a21a12 0 . This can only be
achieved when

a21a12 0 ,


meaning that the two coefficients have to manifest opposite signs and the matrix be quasi-anti-symmetrical.
3.2. The second, invariant inclination of any two vectors condition
The rigidity of the rotation requires also that the angle between any two vectors, namely their monocontracted product, preserve invariant before and after the transform,

(AX1 )T (AX 2 ) X1T X 2 .


Obviously, such a condition also applies when X 1=X2, meaning that the module of a vector remains
also unchanged during the rotation,

(AT A) : (X XT ) X 2 .


The invariant condition (23) writes in detail as


a11 a12 x1 a11 a12 x2


[ x1 y1 ] 2 ,

21 a 22 y1 a 21 a 22 y 2
) x1 x2 (a12
) y1 y2 (a11a12 a21a22 ) x1 y2 (a11a12 a21a22 ) x2 y1 x1 x2 y1 y 2 . (25)
The identity (25) must hold for any arbitrary components of the vectors X 1 and X2 and consequently it
splits into the following three conditions that must simultaneously be fulfilled:
a 21
a12 a 22 1,
a a a a 0.
21 22
11 12


This second group of rigidity conditions implicitly requires that the compounding vectors of the
transform A constitute an ortho-normal basis, condition that is thus once more re-built. The last restriction in
(26), in connection with (22), engages that the main diagonal coefficients manifest identical signs,

a11a22 0 .


As nothing can be said about the signs and values themselves of those coefficients, an extra condition
is still required, otherwise the transform remains simply rigid and does not guaranty a rotation.
3.3. The third condition
The true planar rotation is only possible if the angle of rotation of any, arbitrary vector keeps invariant
in respect with vectors components. In other words the rotating angle is common for any transformed
vector. While the module of each vector is an invariant and the angle passed by the vector during the rotation
must also be not depending on the magnitude of the vector itself, this condition reads


X ax 2 bxy cxy dy 2

x2 y2

d a,

c b ,


where a simplified notation was used for the matrix coefficients (a11=a, a12=b, a21=c, a22=d). From (28) the
known form of a general planar rotation matrix was thus obtained by the rigorous geometrical treatment here
applied, namely

a b cos

b a sin



The sign in front of the coefficient b sin cannot be intrinsically determined and it remains to
depend on the magnitude of the rotation angle . This way any rotation matrix can be built directly when
the amplitude of the rotation is known. At this phase no other connection with the eigen-vectors of matrix
A is visible as far as these vectors are complex quantities. The meaning of their complex character is that the
eigen-vectors do not exist in the two-dimensional space of the rigid rotation.
Regarding the form of the matrix in (29), the secular equation (21) re-writes

2 2 a 1 0


and possesses the roots

1, 2 cos (cos ) 2 1 .


These roots are indeed complex as far as cos 1 , with the special exception of the rotation with an
angle , when the problem falls into a double, real root case of 1, 2 1 . This case coincides with a
special rotation.
The two-dimensional space must be exited to allow finding the real eigen-vectors, namely the real axis
of the rigid, planar rotation.
3.4. The three dimensional approach
If the plane {xOy} is exited, the third Oz axis is built normal up and the corresponding, threedimensional rotation matrix looks like

a b 0
A b a 0 .
0 0 e


Then the rigid rotation in the interior of the plane {xOy} takes place around the Oz axis, with the
associated real eigen-value of +1, meaning that no contraction accompanies the rotation. The characteristic
equation takes indeed the new form
(e )(2 2 a 1) 0
and the real root 3 1 detaches as expected, meaning that e 1. The entire three-dimensional rotation
matrix for the plane {xOy} is thus

A sin


0 .


The fact that the axis of rotation is parallel to the Oz axis can actually be proved by computing the
third eigen-vector of the matrix (32). In that respect the eigen-value 3 1 is introduced and the following
homogeneous system is built

cos 1 sin 0 3 0
sin cos 1 0 0 .

0 3 0


While the projection 3 is completely fluid, the other two are related through the following equations


tan ,
cot .
2 3


These conflicting relations can only be fulfilled when

3 0, 3 0 ,


yielding the direction of the real eigen-vector as being parallel to the Oz axis,

3 0, 3 0, 3 arbitrary ,


3.5. The special semi-rotation =

In this special case the first roots of the characteristic equation are a double one with 1, 2 1 , as
already shown. The corresponding double eigen-vector results from

0 0 0 1, 2 0
0 0 0 0 .

1, 2
0 0 2 1, 2 0


The solution of the system is the opposite of the previous (38) one, namely

1, 2 arbitrary, 1, 2 arbitrary, 1, 2 0 .


Consequently any vector in the {xOy} plane is then an eigen-vector that reverses its position in respect
to the origin, due to the value 1, 2 1 , structuring this special form of the planar rotation of radians.

Simplified description of bound vectors, either geometrical or non-geometrical was derived for
applications in the matrix mechanics. The form of the planar rotation matrix was deduced in respect with its
spectral properties, with an extension to the three dimensional case. On a similar basis it is shown that real
eigen-values of the matrix correspond to the particular radians rotation in plane.

J. L. Synge, B. A. Griffith, Principles of Mechanics, Mc.Graw-Hill Book Comp., Inc., New York, 1949;
. Staicu, Mecanica teoretic, Ed. Didactic i Pedagogic, Bucureti 1998;
Gh. Mocic, Metode operaionale, Ed. Didactic i Pedagogic, Bucureti 1999;
R. D. Rugescu, On the Principles of Relative Motion of Continua, Scientific Bulletin of U.P.B., series A, Applied
Mathematics and Physics, 62, 2(2000), pp. 97-108.