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# National Junior College Mathematics Department 2016

## National Junior College

2015 2016 H2 Mathematics

## Topic 15: Vectors II (Lines and Planes)

Part 1:
1. What is a vector equation of a line in 3D space?
-

## How do we find a vector equation of a line?

What is the geometrical significance of each of the vectors in a vector equation of a line?
How do we convert a vector equation of a line into a Cartesian equation and vice versa?

2.

3.

- intersecting,
- parallel, or
- skew?

4.

-

## How many point(s) of intersection can two intersecting lines have?

Part 2:
5. What is a vector equation of a plane in 3D space?
-

How do we find a
o vector equation (parametric form),
o vector equation (scalar-product form) and
o Cartesian equation
of a plane?
What is the geometrical significance of each of the vectors in a vector equation of a plane?
How do we convert a vector equation of a plane into a Cartesian equation and vice versa?

6.

7.

-

8.

## How do we determine whether two planes are parallel or intersecting?

-

9.

How many point(s) of intersection is/are there between the line and the plane for each of the above cases?
How do we find the point(s) of intersection between a line and a plane?

How many points of intersection are there between the two planes for each of the above cases?
How do we find the points of intersection between two planes?

## How do we determine the relationship among three planes?

- How many point(s) of intersection is/are there among three planes?
-

## How do we find the common point(s) of intersection among three planes?

Part 3:
10. How do we find the acute angle between
- two lines?
- a line and a plane?
- two planes?

Vectors II

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## 11. How do we find the

- foot of perpendicular, and
- perpendicular distance
from a point to a line?
12. How do we find the
- foot of perpendicular, and
- perpendicular distance
from a point to a plane?
Part 1:
1

Equations of a Line

1.1

## For self-reading prior to lecture

Recall that in the topic of Cartesian Geometry, we learnt that the equation of any non-vertical
straight line in the Cartesian plane can be expressed as
y = mx + c,
where m is the gradient of the line and c is the y-intercept of the line. For example, for the line
y = 0.5x + 2, the gradient of the line is 0.5 and the y-intercept is (0, 2), as shown in the diagram
below:

Now suppose we let x = , then we can form a pair of parametric equations for the line as follows:

y 0.5

x
Since we can represent every variable point (x, y) on the line by its position vector , we can
y
rewrite the above pair of parametric equations as a vector equation as follows:
Vectors II

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## National Junior College Mathematics Department 2016

y 0.5 2
x 1 0

y 0.5 2
x
1 0

y
0.5 2
0
1
,
2
0.5
0
1
Now, let us consider the significance of the vectors and in the line y = 0.5x + 2.
2
0.5
0
Clearly, the vector corresponds to the position vector of a fixed point with coordinates (0, 2) on
2
the line.
1
The vector is parallel to the line (since for every 1 unit to the right, we take 0.5 unit upward,
0.5
1
which gives rise to a gradient of 0.5). Hence we call a direction vector of the line.
0.5
Considering (*), for every real value of the parameter , we generate the position vector of a point
on the line. For example, when = 1,
x 0 1 1

y 2 0.5 2.5
gives us the position vector of another point (1, 2.5) on the line, as shown in the diagram below:

0
Hence the position vector of every point on the line is the vector sum of and a scalar multiple
2
1
of the vector , as illustrated in the diagram below.
0.5
Vectors II

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## National Junior College Mathematics Department 2016

In 3D, we are unable to specify an axial intercept or a gradient of the line. We hence use vector
fomulations (as above with position vector of a fixed point on the line and the direction vector of
the line) to construct vector equations for a line, as follows:
Consider a line l parallel to a vector m and passing through a fixed point A with position vector a

## relative to an origin O (i.e. OA a ).

A
x

m
Let R be a variable point (x, y, z) on the line with position vector r y
z
R

a
(i.e. OR = r). Then r OA AR a m, .
line l
Every point on l has position vector (w.r.t. O) given by a + m for some
real value of . Each value of corresponds to one point on l. Hence,

r
O

## Vector equation of line l: r a m,

Example 1.1.1
Find a vector equation of the line l that passes through A 2, 5, 1 and has a direction vector
m i j 2k .

Solution:
Let P be any point on the line l.
2

If OP r and OA 5 ,
1

Then a vector equation for l, passing through A
and with the direction m is r = a + m,

2
1

r 5 1 , .
1
2

Vectors II

line l

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