What Are the Applications of Vectors?

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Because they are easy to generalize to multiple different topics and fields of study, vectors have a very large array of applications. Vectors are regularly used in the fields of engineering, structural analysis, navigation, physics and mathematics. They are also used on a case-by-case basis to model out different problems and scenarios mathematically.

Vectors are mathematical constructs that include a length and a direction. They can exist in any number of dimensions. Because of this, they are used to simply yet effectively convey information about objects or situations. One of the most common uses of vectors is in the description of velocity. By using vectors, physicists describe the movement of a car in motion using a simple line on a geometric plane. This same principle is also applied by navigators to chart the movements of airplanes and ships.

Vectors are also used to plot trajectories. The movements of any thrown object, such as a football, can be mapped with vectors. Using multiple vectors allows for the creation of a model that encompasses external forces like the wind. By utilizing vector addition on these different forces, mathematicians create an accurate estimate of the path of motion and distance traveled by the object.