In physics, Scalar and Vector are two distinct quantities of measurements. In this article, we are going to discuss the definitions with the examples.
Scalar and Vector Definitions
Scalar is a single dimension quantity whereas the Vector is a two-dimensional quantity.
Scalar has a magnitude and vector will have both magnitude and direction.
Make sense?…… No? …… Here is a small example
When we describing the motion of an object or measuring a physical quantity or work, we used to say in phrases moving fast, running fast or eating fast/slow but in physics, this quantity can be described in two types of physical quantities. Those are this scalar and vector. Let’s say Sundar ate five apples. the five quantity is a scalar when we say Sundar ate five apples in three minutes this comes under a Vector quantity.
see this example,
The object has moved a distance of one meter. This is a scalar
The object has moved with a velocity of 1meter/second. Or this can be expressed in a direction(The object has moved one meter towards the right). This is a vector.
In physics, Measuring units are divided into scalar and vector quantities. those were listed below.
Scalar and Vector Quantities
Gravitational energy (J)
Temperature (k or °C)
Kinetic energy (J)
Potential Difference (V)
Are you wondered why speed is a scalar since it’s having two quantities, whereas velocity is a vector with the same quantities?
The answer to this question is that the Speed describes how fast can an object moves, whereas the velocity describes the rate at which an object can moves. This is the difference.
The same kind of confusion you will get with the distance and displacement.
Recently I found this situation, where the units ft-lb and lb-ft are not the same. Here is the reason why these units are not the same.
ft-lb is used to measure energy so it is a scalar quantity on the other side the lb-ft is Torque measurement which is a vector quantity.
Hope this article helps you understand different scalar and vector quantities.