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College Physics (Urone)
Found in: Page 79

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Short Answer

A weather forecast states that the temperature is predicted to be −5ºC the following day. Is this temperature a vector or a scalar quantity? Explain.

Temperature is a scalar quantity. It is equal in all directions, and no need to mention the direction with the magnitude.

See the step by step solution

Step by Step Solution

Step 1: What is a Scalar or vector?

A quantity that is defined by only the help of the magnitude is called a scalar quantity. This kind of quantity does not require direction for mentioning.

Examples of scalar quantity are mass, distance, temperature, etc.

A quantity which requires both magnitudes as well as the direction is called a vector quantity.

Examples of vector quantity are velocity, displacement, force, etc.

Step 2: Explanation

The degree of hotness or coolness of a substance is expressed by temperature, which is a physical quantity.

When a body comes into touch with another that is colder or hotter, it is the manifestation of thermal energy, which is present in all matter and is the cause of the occurrence of heat, a flow of energy.

So if the body is very cold, then the temperature can drop down to zero as well as below zero also. The value – (negative) shows how cold the body is. It is the amount of coldness.

It does not have any relation with the direction. Here the negative sign is not representing the direction of the temperature.

Temperature is a scalar quantity; it does not need any direction to describe temperature.

Hence The negative sign here means the magnitude of temperature is very low.

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