Vector
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Vector
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Any quantity, such as force, velocity, or acceleration, which has both
magnitude and direction at each point in space, as opposed to a scalar which has
magnitude only. Such a quantity may be represented geometrically by an arrow
of length proportional to its magnitude, pointing in the assigned direction.
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A unit vector is a vector of unit length; in particular, the three unit
vectors along the positive X-, Y-, Z-axes of rectangular Cartesian
coordinates are denoted, respectively, by i, j, and k. Any vector A can be
represented in terms of its components, a_{1}, a_{2}, and
a_{3} along the coordinate axes X, Y, and Z,
respectively; e.g., A = a_{1} + a_{2} + a_{3}. A vector drawn from a fixed origin to a given
point (X, Y, Z) is called a position vector and is usually symbolized by r; in
rectangular Cartesian coordinates,
Equations written in vector form are valid in any coordinate system.
Mathematically, a vector is a single-row or -column array of
functions obeying certain laws of transformation. See scalar
product, vector
product, tensor, Helmholtz
theorem.
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References
This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use