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Math Help - Vectors forming a system of equations

  1. #1
    Junior Member Greymalkin's Avatar
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    Vectors forming a system of equations

    Part of my textbook is dealing with suspension block problems with 2 vectors and a weight which sums to 0.(R+S+W=0)
    The two angles where the vector meets the 350lb load are 55 and 37 degrees from a supposed x-axis.(W=350)(180-55=125)

    I follow along up to this part and can't seem to substitute to solve for this system:

    |R|(cos125)+|S|(cos37)=0
    |R|(sin125)+|S|(sin37)-350=0
    Solving the system gives you the answers ~280 and 201

    How do you solve the system?
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  2. #2
    MHF Contributor

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    Re: Vectors forming a system of equations

    One method would be to just replace "sin(37)" with 0.6018, "cos(37)" with 0.7986, sin(125) with 0.8191, and cos(125) with -0.5736 to get -0.5736|R|+ 0.7986|S|= 0 and 0.8191|R|+ 0.6018|S|= 350. Now, for example, multiply each term in the first equation by 0.8191 each term in the second equation by 0.5736 so that the "|R|" terms in the equations are -0.5736)(0.8191)|R| and (0.8191)(.5736)|R| so that now adding the two equations will eliminate |R| leaving a single equation for |R|.

    Another method, since you mention not being able to substitute, is to write the first equation as |R|cos(125)= -|S|cos(37) so that |R|= -\frac{cos(37)}{cos(125)}|S| and replace |R| in the second equation by that. Of course, eventually, you will have to replace sin(37), cos(37), sin(125), and cos(125) by their numerical values.
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