# Scalar and Vector Quantities – Definition, Concept, Differences

All terms and quantities that are actively used in Physics are differentiated into scalar and vector quantities. This is done by taking into account the multiple types of characteristics of both scalar and vector quantities. It is important for students to differentiate the known measurements into scalar and vector quantities, to find out how each scalar quantity or vector quantity behaves under certain circumstances. In this article, we will discuss the scalar quantity and vector quantity, their definition, and most importantly differences between a scalar quantity and a vector quantity, and many more.

**What is Scalar Quantity?**

Let us begin with scalar quantity and its details. All the physical quantities, which have no direction, except magnitude, are said to be scalar quantities. Moreover, in order to define or state a scalar quantity, numerical values are used, and this helps us distinguish the quantities from one another. For instance, if there are multiple forces acting on an object, each of these forces is separated by assigning them numeric quantities, I.e., F1, F2, and F3.

In definition, a scalar quantity just has magnitude or measurement and it is shown in a number. As per its basic feature, a scalar quantity does not have a direction. It is he generic rules of the number addition that a scalar quantity represents.

**Characteristics of scalar quantities**

The characteristics of scalar quantities are given below,

- Scalar quantities just possess size and measurement
- Any change in a scalar quantity alters the magnitude, which is obviously corresponding.
- A scalar quantity thus represents only a single dimension and cannot be determined with respect to their constituents.
- Whenever more than two scalar quantities are involved, the outcome will be scalars only.

**Examples of Scalar Quantities**

There are multiple scalar quantities, that only have magnitude instead of direction, such as,

- Volume
- Speed
- Temperature
- Time
- Distance
- Mass
- Density

**What is Vector Quantity?**

Unlike the scalar quantity, a vector quantity has both magnitudes, as well as directions. And not just that, a vector quantity is are further differentiated based on the value of magnitude, for instance, if the quantity has one magnitude, then it is referred to as a Unit Vector.

**Vector quantity in the definition**

A vector quantity can be a representation or a physical quantity that possesses magnitude, size, as well as direction. A vector that has whose magnitude value equals one is termed a unit vector whose symbol is “û“.

**Characteristics of a vector quantity**

The major vector quantity characteristics are given below,

- Vector quantities possess both magnitude as well as direction.
- Any vector quantity can be seen in more than one dimension, unlike a scalar quantity.
- Whenever there is an alteration or change in a vector quantity, there is a change in either the magnitude or direction or there can be a change in both.
- Vector quantity can be determined in terms of its components where the sine or cosine of the adjacent angle is taken into calculation.
- Two or more vectors, under a mathematical calculation, can lead to scalar quantity or vector quantity, as per the outcome

**Examples of Vector Quantities**

Some of the Vector Quantities are,

- Electric Field
- Force
- Linear Momentum
- Displacement
- Angular Velocity
- Acceleration
- Polarization
- Momentum

**Concept of Vector Addition and Subtraction**

Now that we have figured out what vector and scalar quantities are and gone through the list of scalar and vector quantities, let us talk about the concept of Vector Addition and Subtraction. However, there are certain aspects you must keep in mind while adding or subtracting vectors.

- The vectors cannot be added algebraically, but only geometrically.
- Vector Communication is considered additive in nature.
- More importantly, you must know the addition of vectors is equal to the total number of vectors acting on a body.
- Generally, the component vector that has not been calculated is considered independent, regardless of the number of vectors acting on the object

From the above diagram, as you can see, the addition of vectors A and B is equal to C. And as you know vector C is in the opposite direction, which is why it is considered negative. So, the value of vector B is equal to the subtraction of Vectors A and C.

**Differences between Scalar and Vector Quantity**

There are many differences between Scalar and Vector Quantities, which we are going to explain briefly here in this section.

Parameter |
Scalar Quantity |
Vector Quantity |

Definition | It has both magnitude and direction. | It has only magnitude. |

Specification | The symbol has magnitude and direction. | The symbol only represents magnitude. |

Dimension | It is only one-dimensional. | It can be one, two, or three-dimensional. |

Examples | Mass, Density Temperature, etc. | Force, Acceleration, Weight, etc. |

**Conclusion**

The above article explains in detail all about the differences between scalar and vector quantities, as well as listing out some examples of these quantities. And if you have any doubts or trouble understanding any other topics in this subject, then you can join the **online interactive classes** offered by the **Tutoroot** platform. Because the expert staff and the customizable environment might help you get better ranks and scores in the subject.

**Frequently Asked Questions**

**What is a vector quantity?**

A vector quantity can be a representation or a physical quantity that possesses magnitude, size, as well as direction. A vector that has whose magnitude value equals one is termed a unit vector whose symbol is “û“.

**What is a scalar quantity?**

A scalar quantity just has magnitude or measurement and it is shown in a number. As per its basic feature, a scalar quantity does not have a direction. It is he generic rules of the number addition that a scalar quantity represents.

**What are examples of scalar and vector quantity?**

Examples of a scalar quantity

The main examples of scalar quantity are,

- Mass
- Speed
- Distance
- Time
- Area
- Volume

Examples of vector quantity

Examples of vector quantity are,

- Velocity
- Force
- Pressure
- Displacement
- Acceleration

**Major difference between scalar quantity and vector quantity?**

A scalar quantity has only magnitude or size whereas a vector quantity has both magnitudes as well as direction.

**Is Force Scalar or Vector?**

Force has both magnitude and direction, which is why it is referred to as a vector quantity.

**What are two quantities in physics?**

As stated in the above article, the quantity is represented by scalar quantity and vector quantity. A scalar quantity has both magnitude and direction whereas a vector quantity has only magnitude.