Scalar Quantity vs. Vector Quantity

Difference Between Scalar Quantity and Vector Quantity

Mathematics and physics are the subjects which describe the different phenomenon around us. This is very much dependent on the quantities that are measured using mathematics and physics. The scalar and vector quantities are in the classification of physics. There are some units that have only one dimension which is allocated to them while there are others who also have a direction allocated to them. Examples of the  units possessing only dimension are length, area, pressure,  power, temperature, energy and work, while examples of the type that need direction to be mentioned are the velocity, displacement, force, momentum, acceleration, etc. There is the difference between these two types of quantities that will be discussed in this article.

The most fundamental difference, which is also the only difference between the scalar and vector quantities, is that the scalar quantities are one dimensional while vector quantities have magnitude and direction. Let us understand this with the help of some examples.

If you describe the area of ​​a room, you do not need know any direction. It seems silly to speak in terms of direction of the area of a room. However, there are concepts that require the direction and without reference to direction, they are meaningless, such as displacement and velocity. If a boy runs on circular tracks 500 meters, you can say that he covered a distance of 500 meters when he completes one round but as he returned to the starting point, there was no displacement. Same is case of a stone which is thrown up in the air and it returns to its starting point. Here as well, the stone covers some distance but its displacement is zero.

If the volume of a glass is under consideration, the direction does not need to be specified, but then what needs to be done when you are being asked regarding the exact position of the glass? Direction allows us to learn where the glass is. Velocity is also a vector quantity. Although you can get away when you say that the speed of the car is moving 50 miles an hour, but you need to know its direction if you are talking about its velocity. So you have to say that the car has a speed of 50 mph in the north. The concept of velocity is also important for understanding the concept of acceleration and fundamental understanding of movement of our planets, aircraft and spacecraft.

 

 

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