The wind exerts a force of 452 N north on a sailboat, while the water exerts a force of 325 N west on the sailboat. What is the magnitude and direction of the net force on the sailboat?

1 Answer
Nov 8, 2015

Direction = #45^o# North of West (Due North-West)
Magnitude = 557 N


In this question you have a force (452N) due North and a force (325N) due West. Since these directions are #90^o# apart from one another the angle of the net force is #45^o#.

To calculate the magnitude you must reach WAAAAAY back in your math classes to the pythagorean theorem; since you can view these vectors as a triangle with the net force being the hypotenuse.
#a^2 + b^2 = c^2#
#(325N)^2 + (452N)^2 =309929N^2#

You can then take the square root of your answer to find the magnitude in Newtons.

#sqrt(309929N^2) = 557N#