Mechanics

Scalar Quantities and Vector Quantities

Rocket being launched with defined direction and direction

Every day we come across many physical quantities. Some of these quantities are perfectly defined with a numerical value and its unit of measurement. This is the case, for example, with temperature. When we say that the ambient temperature is 23º C, we don’t need any more information to explain this phenomenon.

However, there are quantities that, in addition to the numerical value and the unit of measurement, need a direction and a sense so that they are perfectly defined. For example, the distance between Goiânia (GO) and Brasília (DF) is approximately 170 km. To get to Brasília, starting from Goiânia, we must travel about 170 km, in the northeast direction and in the direction of Goiânia-Brasília.

Quantities that are defined only by their numerical value and unit of measurement are called scalar quantities.
They are scalar quantities: Time, Temperature, Volume, Mass, Work of a Force, etc.

Those that need a direction and a sense, in addition to the numerical value and the unit of measure, are called vector quantities. Vector quantities are represented by vectors.

Vector is a mathematical entity characterized by having a sense, a direction and a module (intensity). Graphically, vector is represented by an oriented line, indicated by a letter on which we place an arrow.

force vector acceleration vector velocity vector
The vector quantities are: Velocity, Acceleration, Force, Displacement, Thrust, Electric Field, Magnetic Field, Weight Force, etc.

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