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Page 3 -- Vectors

A vector has both direction and magnitude. In two dimensional space, it can be projected onto the X and Y coordinate axes. The length of the projection is dependent on the length of the vector and the angle relative to the coordinate system.

JAVA applets have been implemented throughout this webpage to provide a user interface for demonstration purposes. Each applet is automatically initiated by your web browser, and runs locally. If you do not see a black box with a gray border beneath this text (or if your browser bombs!) then you need to update your version to one that has implemented Java.

Instructions for interaction with each applet are provided.

To INPUT theta in radians (where theta is measured from the positive x-axis):

  • Click on graph with mouse
  • Drag on graph with mouse, or
  • Enter value in radians as text

This basic applet is designed to show a vector and its X and Y components. The vector length is one unit, the X and Y components are indicated on the display. The X and Y components are also displayed as text output.

Conventional vector notation is as follows:


which describes a vector P with components of x units in the x-direction, and y units in the y-direction.

  • Review of Basic Trigonometric Principles
  • Properties of Vector Algebra