Difference between Scalar and Vector Quantity

Scalar and vector quantities are two different quantities. It is important to know which quantity is scalar or vector. The main difference between scalar and vector quantity is that scalar quantity has magnitude but no direction whereas a vector quantity has both magnitude as well as direction.

By the end of this article, you will be able to tell whether a quantity is a vector quantity or a scalar quantity. Let see in detail the basic differences between the two quantities.

Difference between Scalar and Vector Quantity in tabular form

Scalar quantity Vector quantity
A scalar quantity is a quantity that has magnitude but no direction. A vector quantity is a quantity that has both magnitude and direction.
This quantity is one-dimensional always. This quantity can be one-dimensional, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional.
The change in the scalar quantity denotes the change in the magnitude. The change in the vector quantity denotes the change in either magnitude or direction or both.
It is represented by a letter. It is represented by a letter with an overhead arrow.
Scalar quantity cannot be simplified or resolved because it does have the only magnitude. Vector quantity can be simplified or resolved in different directions.
Scalar quantities obey algebraic rules for the operations like addition and multiplication. Vector quantities obey vector algebra rules for the operations like addition and multiplication.
A scalar quantity can divide other scalar quantity. A vector quantity can never divide other vector quantity.
Examples:

mass, length, energy, density, area, volume, speed, pressure, temperature, work, power, time, charge, resistance, electric potential, etc.

Examples:

velocity, displacement, force, acceleration, momentum, drag, weight, thrust, impulse, electric field, magnetic field, torque, dipole moment, etc.

Conclusion

The key difference between scalar and vector quantity is that scalar quantity has magnitude on the other hand vector quantity has both magnitude as well as direction. Scalar quantity obeys basic algebra whereas vector quantity obeys vector algebra.

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