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Appendix A: Vector calculus

We shall revise some vectors operations that you should have already met before this
course. These may be presented slightly differently to the way you have previously seen
them.

A.1 Suffix notation and summation convention

Suppose that we have two vectors u = (u1 , u2 , u3) and v = (v1 , v2 , v3 ).
dot product is defined to be
uv =

3
X

ui vi

or, more simply, write

i=1

Then the

u v = ui vi

(drop the summation symbol on the understanding that repeated suffices imply summation.
Defn A.1.2: The Kronecker delta is defined by


1,
i=j
ij =
0,
i 6= j
So in summation convention, ij aj = ai since
ij aj

3
X

ij aj = ai

j=1

Examples:
1. ii = 3
2. ij ui vj = uj vj u v.
Defn A.1.3: The antisymmetric symbol ijk is defined by
123 = 1
ijk is zero if there are any repeated suffices. E.g. 113 = 0.
Interchanging any two suffices reverses the sign: e.g. ijk = jik = kji
Above implies invariant under cyclic rotation of suffices: ijk = jki = kij
With this definition all 27 permutations are defined. There are only 6 non-zero components,
123 = 231 = 312 = 1,
213 = 132 = 321 = 1,
Defn A.1.4: The cross product is defined by
w = u v = (u2 v3 u3 v2 )
x + (u3 v1 u1 v3 )
y + (u1 v2 u2 v1 )z

But can now be written in component form as

wi = ijk uj vk
where summation over j and k occurs. [Check].
Example: Consider the triple product,
w (u v) = wi ijk uj vk
where summation is over i, j, k so result is scalar. It follows that
w (u v) =
=
=
=

jki wi uj vk = u (v w)
kij wi uj vk = v (w u)
jik wi uj vk = u (w v)
ikj wi uj vk = w (v u)

Defn A.1.5: The double product of ijk is

ijk ilm = jl km jm kl
[Check]
Defn A.1.6: The vector triple product is defined by the result
w (u v) = (w v)u (w u)v
Proof:
[w (u v)]i =
=
=
=
=

ijk wj [u v]k
ijk wj klm ul vm
kij klm wj ul vm
(il jm jl im )wj ul vm
wj ui vj wj uj vi = (w v)ui (w u)vi

A.2 Differential operations

Here we consider operations on a function (x) and 
a vector field f(x)
 where x =

(x1 , x2 , x3 ). One can regard as the vector operator

,
,
. Without usx1 x2 x3
ing any information (but always remembering the true meaning of the symbol!), one can
also use the much sleaker notation (1 , 2 , 3 ). I will usually do that whenever using
summation convention. Then
The gradient is . So []i =

i
xi

The divergence is f =

fi
i fi (in summation convention)
xi

The curl is f where [ f]i = ijk

fk
ijk j fk .
xj

Examples:
1. [(xj )]i = j xi = ij
2. x = i xi = ii = 3
3. [ x]i = ijk k xj = ijk kj = ijj = 0
4. r = xr , where r 2 x x.
Proof: [r]i = i

i x2j
xj i xj
xj ij
xi
=
= .
xj xj = q =
r
r
r
2 x2j

A.2.1 Useful vector identities

1. (f) = i (fi ) = i fi + fi i = f + f
2. (f) = ( f) + ( f)
Proof: [ (f)]i = ijk j (fk ) = ijk j fk + fk ijk j = [ f]i + [ f]i .
3. f ( f) = ( 21 f f) (f )f
Proof:
[f ( f)]i = ijk fj [ f]k = ijk fj klm l fm = kij klm fj l fm
1
= (il jm im jl )fj l fm = fj i fj fj j fi = i fj fj (f )fi
2
Hence result.

A.3 Integral results

A.3.1 The divergence theorem

ds
V

Very important. Consider a volume V bounded by a closed surface S with outward unit

normal n. Then for a vector field f(x)

Z
Z
fdV =
f ndS
V

Corollary: Let f(x) = a(x) where a is an arbitrary constant vector, and (x) a scalar
function. Since (a(x)) = a (x), so the divergence theorem reduces to
Z
Z
a
dV = a ndS
V

dV =

ndS

A.3.2 Stokes theorem

n
ds
S
C
dl
Let C be a closed curve bounding a surface S with unit normal n.
Then for a vector field f(x),
I
Z
f dl = ( f) ndS
C

where dl is a line element on C.

Corollary: Let f(x) = a(x) where a is an arbitrary constant vector. Then
I
Z
a dl = ( a) ndS
C

and from A.2.1(2), ( a) = ( a) + ( a) = ( a). Using the vector triple

product result, ( a) n = a ( n) and then
I
Z
a
dl = a ndS
C

Therefore

dl =

ndS