30 June 2020

Difference Between Scalar and Vector Quantity

Scalar and vector are two major classifications of quantity. The crucial difference between scalar and vector quantity is that scalar quantity is the one that is simply associated with the magnitude of any quantity, while in against a physical quantity that considers both magnitudes as well as direction, it is termed as a vector quantity.

Scalar quantity:

A scalar quantity is referred to as the quantity, which has only magnitude and no direction. Every scalar quantity is one dimensional.

Vector quantity:

Vector quantity implies the physical quantity which comprises both magnitude as well as and direction. Vector quantity can be one dimensional, two dimensional, or three dimensional.

Difference between scalar and vector quantity:

  • Scalar has only magnitude, the vector has direction and magnitude.
  • Scalar has only one dimensional, the vector has a multidimensional.
  • Scalar has quantity change with the change in magnitude, while in vector change with magnitude and direction.
  • One scalar quantity can divide another scalar quantity, while one vector cannot divide another vector.
  • Scalar is normal rules of algebra are applicable here, there is a different set of rules known as vector algebra.
  • An example of speed, time, length, mass, energy the distance between the point is a scalar quantity, not the direction, weight, force-velocity could be an example of the rate of change of an object's position.
  • Scalar quantity cannot be resolved as it has the exact same value regardless of direction, vector quantity can be resolved in any direction using the sine or cosine of the adjacent angle.
  • Any image in a scalar quantity is the reflection of a change in magnitude, while any change in a vector quantity can reflect either change in direction or change in the magnitude of change in both.
  • Any mathematical operation carried out among two or more scalar quantities will provide the scalar only. however, if a scalar is operated with a vector then the result will be a vector. But in the result of a mathematical operation between two or more vectors may give either scalar or vector. For example dot product of two vectors gives only scalar, while the cross product or summation or subtraction between two vectors result in a vector.

The similarity between scalar and vector quantity:

  • Both the scalar quantity and vector quantity express certain physical quantities.
  • Both scalar quantities and vector quantities are measurable and quantifiable.
  • Both scalar quantities and vector quantities have a certain finite magnitude.
  • Both scalar quantities and vector quantities have specific dimensions and units.

Explore more information: