Definition:Vector Area

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Let $S$ be a plane surface embedded in Cartesian $3$-space.

The vector area of $S$ is a technique of representing $S$ using a vector quantity $\mathbf S$.


The magnitude of the vector is determined by the area of $S$, while its direction is defined as the unit normal $\mathbf {\hat n}$ to the plane of $S$.

The sign of $\mathbf S = S \, \mathbf {\hat n}$ is determined by the right-hand rule according to the direction of rotation around $S$ when describing it.

The shape of $S$ is arbitrary.

While in the diagram above it is seen to be circular, it is usual to consider rectangles or whatever other shapes can be aligned conveniently with coordinate axes.

Also see

  • Results about vector area can be found here.