Vector Analysis

Mark A. Strain, PE

Course Outline

Vector analysis is a mathematical tool used to explain and predict physical phenomena in the study of mechanics. A vector is a depiction or symbol showing movement or a force carried from point A to point B. A vector has properties of both magnitude and direction. A scalar only has the property of magnitude.

The purpose of this course is to describe vectors and to explain their use and to demonstrate their many applications. This course also describes several vector operations including the dot product and cross product.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course the student will learn:

• How to apply the use of vectors to different fields of engineering;
• How to decompose a vector into its individual components;
• How to find the length of a vector;
• How to compute the dot product of a vector;
• How to compute the cross product of a vector; and
• How to determine the angle between two vectors.

Intended Audience

This course is intended for all engineers.

Benefit to Attendees

Attendee of this course will be able to understand the fundamentals of vector analysis.

Course Introduction

Mechanics is the science of motion and the study of the action of forces on bodies. Mechanics is a physical science incorporating mathematical concepts directly applicable to many fields of engineering such as mechanical, civil, structural and electrical engineering.

Vector analysis is a mathematical tool used in mechanics to explain and predict physical phenomena. The word “vector” comes from the Latin word vectus (or vehere – meaning to carry). A vector is a depiction or symbol showing movement or a force carried from point A to point B.
A scalar is a quantity, like mass (14 kg), temperature (25°C), or electric field intensity (40 N/C) that only has magnitude and no direction. On the other hand, a vector has both magnitude and direction. Physical quantities that have magnitude and direction can be represented by the length and direction of an arrow.

Course Content

This course is in the following PDF document:

Vector Analysis