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Statics For Dummies by James H. Allen, III, PE, PhD

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Chapter 6. Vector Mathematics and Identities

After you're familiar with how to depict the velocity of a particle (see Chapter 4) and write the equation for a force vector (see Chapter 5), you want to start looking at how to work with those vectors through mathematics. Vectors become especially important when you work three-dimensional statics problems, and the skills I show you in this chapter introduce some of the methods for performing calculations with them.

In working with vectors, you soon discover a variety of basic operations that are similar to many of the basic mathematic operations you have used when working with scalar values. However, there are also some special rules that you need to observe. In this chapter, I introduce these operations and rules and show you how to apply them to your vector problems. I also give you a convenient list of properties you'll use with these operations throughout your statics work.

Performing Basic Vector Operations

As you may have learned in your conventional math classes, addition and subtraction are among the most basic (and important) calculations that you work with. Vectors are no different; addition, subtraction, and relocation all become important skills, and that's what I cover in the following sections.

Adding vectors

Simply put, the addition of vectors involves collecting each of the pieces of the action that ...

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