Lectures on Physics has been derived from Benjamin Crowell's Light and Matter series of free introductory textbooks on physics. See the editorial for more information....

Order of addition

If we are adding two force vectors, F + G, is it valid to assume as in ordinary algebra that F + G is the same as G + F?

To tell if this algebra rule also applies to vectors, we simply translate the vector notation into ordinary algebra notation. In terms of ordinary numbers, the components of the vector F+G would be Fx +Gx , Fy +Gy , and Fz + Gz , which are certainly the same three numbers as Gx + Fx , Gy + Fy , and Gz + Fz . Yes, F + G is the same as G + F.

Last Update: 2009-06-21