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Help Needed With Drawing Vector Diagrams

Discussion in 'MCAT Study Question Q&A' started by amusedtodeath24, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. amusedtodeath24

    amusedtodeath24 2+ Year Member

    May 19, 2008

    I am having trouble solving the following problem:

    "A weather balloon travels upward for 6 km while the wind blows it 10 km north and 8 km east. Approximately what is the final displacement from its initial position?"

    I am not understanding how to draw a vector diagram to solve this problem...any suggestions as to how I can tackle problems such as these?

    Thank you.
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  3. Vincenzo333

    Vincenzo333 2+ Year Member

    May 23, 2008
    If I'm not mistaking... it's a vector summation problem. Best thing to do is to draw the picture adding the vectors from head to tail.

    then go on from there
  4. nothing123

    nothing123 7+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2008
    Here, upward is the same as north. So the weather balloon itself travels 6 km north. The wind then pushes it 10 more km north and then 8 km to the east (right). If you draw it out on paper you should get a right angled triangle with one side of 16 km and the other of 8 km. Now just apply the Pythagorean theorem to find the length of the hypotenuse and that's your displacement.
  5. medskl09

    medskl09 2+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    Sunnyvale, California
    Is this a trick question? I read upwards as Z axis. So the balloon is moving along all 3 axis x,y & z. So in this case the solution would be the vector sum (S1) in the x & y (S1=x+y) and then the vector sum S1 & z (S1+z).

    Its confusing on what they mean though. Do you know the answer(a,b,cd options)?
  6. nothing123

    nothing123 7+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2008
    Sorry, I misinterpreted. Just because it's a weather balloon, it would be logical to assume upward equals z-axis. The same Pythagorean theorem would apply though according to the vector sums of the poster above.

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