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Vector Quantities - Scalar Quantities

Teacher/Instructor Matt Jones
Matt Jones

M.Ed., George Washington University
Dept. chair at a high school

Matt is currently the department chair at a high school in San Francisco. In his spare time, Matt enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two kids.

A scalar quantity contains a magnitude and operates independently of direction while a vector quantity contains a direction. Most scientific data are scalar. A few examples of scalar quantities include time, mass and speed. Examples of vector quantities include velocity and displacement.

Okay how are vector is different from scalar quantities? Well let's talk about vectors again. Vectors have a magnitude and a direction so examples that we talk about as vectors are things like velocity meters per second east or acceleration 9.8 meters per second squared you know in the 180 degree direction okay? So vectors have a magnitude and a direction.

Scalar quantities are things that just have a magnitude or an amount so something like a mass in kilograms or a volume in meters or other quantities like that densities and so forth so these are units that don't have a direction but they do have a have a magnitude or an amount and that's the difference between a vector and a scalar quantity.