Scalars and Vectors

Physical quantities can be classified into scalars and vectors. Scalars are the ones which can be specified with only magnitudes whereas vectors are the quantities that are specified by both magnitude and direction. Vectors are used to describe the motion of an object in a plane. They obey special rules of vector algebra.

Null vector, equal vector, negative vector, co – initial vector, co – planar vector, localised vector, non – localised vector are few terms connected with vectors. Two vectors are equal if, and only if, they have the same magnitude and the same direction. Depending upon the mode of operation and conventional representation, the two different categories in which vectors are classified are polar (radial) vectors and axial (pseudo) vectors.

Vectors can be multiplied by a real number, resulting in a vector, the magnitude of which increases to the real number times the magnitude of the original vector and its direction could either be the same or opposite depending on whether the real number is positive or negative.

Unit vector is a vector having a unit magnitude drawn in the direction of the given vector. Three vectors each having a unit magnitude and directions parallel to the three coordinate axes are called base vectors. Three types of vectors are one dimensional vector, two dimensional vector and three dimensional vector.

Position vector of a point is the vector joining the given point with the origin and is directed from origin to the given point. Displacement vector is the vector obtained by joining the initial point with final point and is directed from the initial point towards final point.

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