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# Rectangular Components of a Force in Space.

## Consider a force F acting at the origin 0 of the system of rectangular

coordinates x, y. z. To define the direction of F, we may draw the vertical
plane OBAC containing F shown in Fig.1(a). This plane passes through the
vertical y axis and it is at an angle Ø with the xy plane. F forms angle ϴy with
the y axis. The force F may be resolved into a vertical component Fy and a
horizontal component Fh as shown in fig. 1(b). The corresponding scalar
components are

## Fy = Fcos ϴy, Fh = F sin ϴy

But Fh may be resolved into two
rectangular components Fx, and Fz along
the x and z axes, respectively as shown
in fig. 1(C). We obtain the following
expressions for the corresponding scalar
components:

## Fx = Fh cos Ø = F sin ϴy cos Ø

Fz = Fh sin Ø = F sin ϴy sin Ø

The given force F has thus been resolved into three rectangular vector
components Fx, Fy, and Fz, directed along the three coordinate axes.
Applying the Pythagorean theorem to the triangles OAB and OCD of Fig
1(a) and 1(b), we write

## F2 = (OA)2 = (OB)2 + (BA)2 = Fy2 + Fh2 ----------(A)

Fh2 = (OC)2 = (OD)2 + (DC)2 = Fx2 + Fz2 ---------(B)

## Substituting equation B in A, and eliminating Fh from equation A, we obtain

the following relation between the magnitude of F and its rectangular scalar
components.

## F = √(𝑭𝟐𝒙 + 𝑭𝟐𝒚 + 𝑭𝟐𝒛 )

The relationship existing between the force F and its three components Fx,
Fy, Fz, is more easily visualized if a "box" having Fx, Fy, Fz, for edges is
drawn as shown in Fig. 2. The force F is then represented by the diagonal
OA of this box.
From fig. 2a, b and c, we can write

## Fx = F cos ϴx, Fy = F cos ϴy and Fz = F cos ϴz. ------(1)

The cosines of the angles ϴx, ϴy, and ϴz are called direction cosines of the
force F. The force F can be written in the vector notation

## F = Fxi + Fyj + Fzk. --------------------(2)

The angle a force F forms with an axis should be measured from the
positive side of the axis and will always be comprised between 0 and
180°
Equations (1) and (2) are repeated here for convenience of reading.

## Substituting into (1) the expressions obtained for Fx , Fy and Fz in (2),

we write
F = F cos ϴx i + F cos ϴy j + F cos ϴz k
F = F (cos ϴx i + cos ϴy j + cos ϴz k)--------- (3)
which shows that the force F may be expressed as the product of the
scalar F and of the vector λ.
λ = cos ϴx i + cos ϴy j + cos ϴz k ---------- (4)
Clearly, the vector λ is a vector of
magnitude equal to 1 and of the same
direction as F (Fig. 2). We shall refer to λ
as the unit vector along the line of action
of F. It follows from equation (4) that the
components of the unit vector λ are
respectively equal to the direction
cosines of the line of action of F:

## λx = cos ϴx, λy = cos ϴy, λz = cos ϴz, ------------------ (5)

We should observe that the values of the three angles ϴx ϴy ϴz
are not independent. Expressing that the sum of the squares of the
, ,
components of λ is equal to the square of its magnitude, we write

## 𝝀𝟐𝒙 + 𝝀𝟐𝒚 + 𝝀𝟐𝒛 = λ2 = 1 ----------------- (6)

or, substituting for λ x , λ y, λ z , from (2.23),
cos2ϴx + cos2ϴy +cos2ϴz = 1-----------(7)
The equation (7) can also be proved as follows.

## Fx2 + Fy2 + Fz2 = F2 cos2 ϴx + F2 cos2 ϴy + F2 cos2 ϴz

= F2 (cos2 ϴx + cos2 ϴy + cos2 ϴz)

## 𝐅𝐱𝟐 + 𝐅𝐲𝟐 + 𝐅𝐳𝟐

= (cos2 ϴx + cos2 ϴy + cos2 ϴz)
𝐅

## Since Fx2 + Fy2 + Fz2 = F2, cos2 ϴx + cos2 ϴy + cos2 ϴz = 1

2.13. Force Defined by Its Magnitude and Two Points on Its Line
of Action. In many applications, the direction of a force F is defined by the
coordinates of two points, M(X1, Y1, Z1) and N(x2, y2, z2) located on its line of
action (Fig. 3). From the fig. we understand that

𝑑𝑥 = 𝑥2 − 𝑥1 ,

𝑑𝑦 = 𝑦2 − 𝑦1 , 𝑑𝑧 =
𝑧2 − 𝑧1 ,
MN is called the position vector. The components of MN are determined by
subtracting the coordinates of M from those of N as given below.

Please note that it means (coordinates of the head of the force vector ―
coordinates of the tail of the force vector).

## Also we know that d = √(𝑑𝑥2 + 𝑑𝑦2 + 𝑑𝑧2 ) = Length of position vector MN

𝒅𝒙 𝒅𝒚 𝒅𝒛
cos ϴx = ; cos ϴy = ; cos ϴz = ------------(8)
𝒅 𝒅 𝒅

## 𝑭𝒅𝒙 𝑭𝒅𝒚 𝑭𝒅𝒛

Fx = , Fy = , Fz =
𝒅 𝒅 𝒅

## We already know that F = F (cos ϴx i + cos ϴy j + cos ϴz k)

Therefore
𝑭𝒅𝒚
F =
𝑭𝒅𝒙
𝒅
i+
𝒅
{
j+
𝑭𝒅𝒛
𝒅
k }
𝑑𝑥 𝑖+𝑑𝑦 𝑗+𝑑𝑧 𝑘
F=F[ ]=Fλ
𝑑

𝒅𝒙 𝒊+𝒅𝒚 𝒋+𝒅𝒛 𝒌
Therefore λ=
𝒅

The vector MN joining M and N has got the same sense as F. We write

MN = dx i + dy j + dz k

The unit vector λ along the line of action of F (i.e., along the line MN) may
also be obtained by dividing the vector MN by its magnitude MN.
Substituting for MN from (2.26) and observing that MN is equal to the
distance d from M to N, we write MN

## Vector MN 𝐌𝐍 𝒅𝒙 𝒊+𝒅𝒚 𝒋+𝒅𝒛 𝒌

λ= = =
Magniude MN 𝑀𝑁 𝒅
2.14. Addition of Concurrent Forces in Space. We shall
determine the resultant R of two or more forces in space by summing their
rectangular components. Graphical or trigonometric methods are generally
not practical in the case of forces in space.

## Resulant R = ΣF = 𝑅𝑥 𝑖 + 𝑅𝑦 𝑗 + 𝑅𝑧 𝑘 = (ΣFx i + ΣFy j + ΣFz k)

= (ΣFx)i + (ΣFv)j + (Σ Fz)k

## The magnitude of the resultant R = √(𝐑𝟐𝐱 + 𝐑𝟐𝐲 + 𝐑𝟐𝐳 )

The angles Øx, Øy, Øz the resultant forms with the coordinate axes can be
determined using the following relations.

𝑹𝒙 𝑹𝒚 𝑹𝒛
cos ϴx = ; cos ϴy = ; cos ϴz =
𝑹 𝑹 𝑹