Saturday, November 15, 2008

Definition of vector product

Definition: a and b are two non-zero non-parallel vectors. Then the vector product a×b is defined as a vector whose magnitude is |a||b| sin θ where θ is the angle between a and b and whose direction is perpendicular to the plane of a and b in such a way that a,b and this direction constitute a right handed system.

The direction of vector product: If η is a unit vector in the direction of a×b, then a,b and η form a system in such a way that , if we rotate vector a into vector b, then η will point in the direction perpendicular to the plane and a and b in which a right handed screw will move if it is turned in the same manner.

Magnitude of a×b = |a||b| sin θ

Geometrical interpretation of vector product

a×b is a vector whose magnitude is equal to the area of the parallelogram having a and b as its adjacent sides.
| a×b| = |a | |b| sin θ |a| is the base and |b| sin θ is the height of the parallelogram

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