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# What is a scalar quantity?

Updated: 8/10/2023

Wiki User

8y ago

Scalars are quantities that have magnitude only; they are independent of direction. Conversely, vectors have both magnitude and direction.

A scalar quantity is any numeric value that has no spatial direction. So let's look at your four tests.

• Time. We can give it a numbers; so it qualifies as a numeric value. Can it have spatial direction? No. It marches on, but in no direction. Saying 2 minutes south, for example, makes no sense whatsoever. So it's a scalar quantity.
• Speed. Again with the numbers...25 mph for example. But can it have a direction. Yes. 25 mph heading north makes sense; and because it also has direction it is not a scalar but a vector; when speed has a direction it is called Velocity. Note: all vectors will have a scalar component, but not all scalars will have direction.
• Position. This is tricky. What is the numeric value of position? Distance...25 miles, for example, gives us an interval in space. Can this interval have spatial direction? Yep. 25 miles north of my house, for example, gives the direction of the interval. But like velocity, if we leave off the direction, we are left with the scalar...25 miles. In fact, position and velocity are related. If I divide the 25 miles north by 1 hour interval in time to travel to that position, I'd have 25 mph north...the previous velocity.
• Acceleration. We can assign numbers, like 9.81 m/sÂ²; so without direction, it is a scalar. Does assigning a direction make sense? Sure. Braking at 4 m/sÂ² in a westerly direction makes perfect sense. So, with its direction added, acceleration can be a vector just like position and velocity. In fact, the three are related, which is why they are all three capable of being vectors.

Wiki User

8y ago

Wiki User

13y ago

There are two types of quantities in Physics scalar and vector. The square of Scalar quantities are positive numbers. The term Scalar was used to denote size or scale not direction. Scalar numbers have direction referred to the attraction negative or repulsion positive.

For example potential energy is a scalar energy E = -mGM/r the negative sign on this scalar denotes gravitational attraction.

Akbar Ali

Lvl 5
1y ago

A quantity that describes magnitude only not about the direction is called scalar quantity.

Example Height of man is 5ft only explain magnitude or if we buy sugar we are only concerned about quantity of sugar 2kg ,3kg e.t.c not about the 3kg sugar in west direction😂

Wiki User

14y ago

Scalar quantities are quantities that have magnitude only; they are independent of direction.

Wiki User

11y ago

Physical quantity which has only magnitude is called scalar quantity. Examples:

time, mass, work, energy, electric current, power, electric charge, magnetic pole strength

Wiki User

12y ago

Any measurement for which a direction is not relevant.

Wiki User

13y ago

More specifically, a scalar is a measurement of a type where a direction is not relevant. When a direction is relevant, the measurement is called a vector.