Mr. Rogers AP Physics C Study Guide  --  Vector Addition

Unit Plan Practice Test Study Guide

Mathematical models

 A = ( Ax2 + Ay2) 0.5 A = x + yĵ + zk
Ax = A cos q
Ay = A sin q
q = Tan-1(Ay/Ax)

Key Principles

  1. Displacement and velocity vectors always go in the same direction.
  2. Acceleration and force vectors always go in the same direction.
  3. Components are independent of each other. In other words changing one component will have no effect on the others. Each dimension can be treated as though it is a separate problem.
  4. 3 step component method for adding two or more vectors (polar coordinates): 
  • Break all vectors into components.
  • Sum the components for each dimension
  • Using the new components calculated in the second step, calculate a resultant and an angle.
  1. Method for adding two or more vectors (unit vector notation): 
  • Sum the components for each dimension


air speed components ground speed
resultant unit vector

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