Vectors Joining Two Points

You might already have come across the term vector. A quantity which has magnitude, as well as direction, is represented by a vector. The most common example of a vector in mathematics is a directed line segment. Let us say that a line AB, 5 cm in length, is pointed towards the south. In this case, AB is a vector. There are different types of vectors. Basic mathematical operations can be applied to them as well. In this article, we will talk about a vector which joins two points.

Vectors Joining Two Point

We can represent a point by its x coordinate, y coordinate and z coordinate. Let us say there are two points represented by their x-, y- and z- coordinates as:

  • P1(x1,y1,z1)
  • P2(x2,y2,z2)

We join the points P1 and P2 by a vector and call it as P1P2.

Vectors Joining Two Points

We represent the vectors from the origin O along the x-, y- and z-axes as i, j and k respectively. Now we join the origin O to P1 with the vector OPand to P2 with the vector OP2. Using the triangle law, we get:

\(\overrightarrow{OP_{1}}+ \overrightarrow{P_{1}P_{2}} = \overrightarrow{OP_{2}}\)

Or

\(\overrightarrow{P_{1}P_{2}} = \overrightarrow{OP_{2}}- \overrightarrow{OP_{1}}\)

That is,

\(\overrightarrow{P_{1}P_{2}} = (x_{2}\hat{i} + y_{2}\hat{j}+ z_{2}\hat{k}) – (x_{1}\hat{i} + y_{1}\hat{j}+ z_{1}\hat{k})\)

\(= (x_{2} – x_{1})\hat{i} + (y_{2} – y_{1} ) \hat{j}+ (z_{2}- z_{1})\hat{k}\)

Thus, the above equation represents the vector P1P2. Its magnitude can be given by:

\(\overrightarrow{P_{1}P_{2}} = \sqrt{(x_{2}- x_{1})^{2} + (y_{2}- y_{1})^{2} + (z_{2}- z_{1})^{2}}\)

Example-

Question: Find the vector and its magnitude which joins the point A with coordinates (4, 5, 6) to point B with coordinates (10, 11, 12).

Solution: The vector is directed from the point A to B and can be denoted by \(\overrightarrow{AB}\)

Thus,

\(\overrightarrow{AB} = (10 – 4) \hat{i} + (11 – 5) \hat{j} + (12 – 6) \hat{k} = 6 \hat{i} + 6 \hat{j} + 6 \hat{k}\)

Magnitude can be given by:

\(\overrightarrow{AB} = \sqrt{6^{2} + 6^{2} + 6^{2}} = \sqrt{108} = 10.39\)<

To learn more about vectors, section formula and other vector concepts with illustrative examples, by watching interactive video lectures on them, download Byju’s The Learning App.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *