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Resolving a Force into Vertical and Horizontal Components
Force is a vector quantity.  
This means that it has its full effect in a particular direction but that it also has reduced effects in other directions.  
   
The effect of a force in a direction not along its own line of action is called a component of the force.  
   
The process of finding the magnitudes of the components of a force is called resolving the force into its components.  
   
     
The force, F, in this diagram can be considered to be the sum of two perpendicular forces, as shown in the next diagram.  
   
Imagine that these diagrams have been drawn to scale.
 
For example, let 1cm represent 0.1N of force.  
   
   
   
   
     
These forces are the vertical and horizontal components of F.  
   
From the diagram we see that the magnitude of the vertical component Fv is given by  
 
and the magnitude of the vertical component Fh is given by  
 
   
The magnitude of the component of a force in a direction at 90 to its own line of action is therefore always equal to zero.  
This is why it is often useful to resolve a force into its vertical and horizontal components: these two components can then be considered as two independent forces.  
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