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Math Help - Finding Perpendicular Vector, Help!!!

  1. #1
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    Finding Perpendicular Vector, Help!!!

    I really need help on vectors were you have to find a perpendicular vector. I have 2 questons that are really confusing me:

    1. Find a vector which is perpendicular to both a and b
    a = (i+3j-k)
    b = (3i-j-k)

    2. Show that lines L1 and L2 are perpendicular to each other.

    L1: r = \left(\begin{array}{c}5\\3\\0\end{array}\right) + \lambda \left(\begin{array}{c}-7\\-7\\7\end{array}\right)

    L2: r = \left(\begin{array}{c}1\\-3\\-4\end{array}\right) + \mu \left(\begin{array}{c}1\\2\\3\end{array}\right)

    Thank You, this part of vectors is really confusing me
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  2. #2
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    Does it help to remember that if the dot product of two vectors is zero, then they are orthogonal (perpendicular).

    Sorry, I'm in the same boat you are it seems, we just started vectors and I'm wading my way through the material.
    Last edited by elizsimca; April 27th 2008 at 08:58 AM. Reason: clarity
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  3. #3
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    Hello, Stylis10!

    1. Find a vector which is perpendicular to both \vec{a}\text{ and }\vec{b}

    . . \begin{array}{ccc}\vec{a} &= & {\bf i}+3{\bf j}-{\bf k} \\<br />
\vec{b} &= & 3{\bf i}-{\bf j}-{\bf k} \end{array}
    A vector perpendicular to two vectors is their cross product.

    . . \vec{a} \times \vec{b} \;=\;\begin{vmatrix}{\bf i} & {\bf j} & {\bf k} \\ 1 & 3 & \text{-}1 \\ 3 & \text{-}1 & \text{-}1 \end{vmatrix} \;=\;-4{\bf i} - 2{\bf j} - 10{\bf k}\;\;\text{ or }\;\;\boxed{2{\bf i} + {\bf j} + 5{\bf k}}



    2. Show that lines L_1\text{ and }L_2 are perpendicular.

    \begin{array}{cccc}L_1\!: & r &= & \left(\begin{array}{c}5\\3\\0\end{array}\right) + \lambda \left(\begin{array}{c}\text{-}7\\\text{-}7\\7\end{array}\right) \\ \\[-3mm] <br />
L_2\!: & r & = & \left(\begin{array}{c}1\\\text{-}3\\\text{-}4\end{array}\right) + \mu \left(\begin{array}{c}1\\2\\3\end{array}\right) \end{array}
    Two vectors are perpendicular if their dot product is zero.

    We have: . (-7{\bf i} - 7{\bf j} + 7{\bf k})\cdot({\bf i} + 2{\bf j} + 3{\bf k}) \;=\;-7 - 14 + 21 \;=\;{\color{blue}0}

    . . Therefore: . L_1 \perp L_2

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  4. #4
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    Thank You both, but Soro could u please explain the method for question 1 in a bit more detail to me please.
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  5. #5
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    One of the properties of the cross product of two vectors \vec{a} and  \vec{b} is that the resultant vector \vec{a} \times \vec{b} is orthogonal (perpendicular) to both \vec{a} and  \vec{b}.

    So, you are given two vectors. Their cross product will yield the vector perpendicular to both of them.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soroban View Post

    A vector perpendicular to two vectors is their cross product.

    . .
    I got told!!! hehe
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