Question Video: Finding the Magnitude and Direction of a Velocity Mathematics

Velocity is a vector quantity which combines speed and direction. For example, the velocity at a section of the Mississippi river near New Orleans is 3 miles per hour east. What is the magnitude of this velocity? What is the direction of this velocity?

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Video Transcript

Velocity is a vector quantity which combines speed and direction. For example, the velocity at a section of the Mississippi river near New Orleans is three miles per hour east. What is the magnitude of this velocity? And what is the direction of this velocity?

We’re told that at a section of the Mississippi river near New Orleans the velocity of the river is three miles per hour east. In the first part of the question, we’re asked for the magnitude of this velocity. And we recall that the magnitude of a velocity is its speed. In this case, the magnitude is three miles per hour. That is the speed at which the river moves.

For the second part of the question, we’re asked for the direction of the river’s velocity. Now, as noted in the question, velocity is a vector quantity which combines speed and direction. And we’re told that the velocity at the given section of river is three miles per hour in an easterly direction. Therefore, the direction of the velocity is east. Hence, if the velocity of the river is three miles per hour east, then its magnitude is three miles per hour and its direction is east.

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