Tensor – Basic Notation

Tensor calculus is an organized expression, which contains sophisticated geometric insights.

  • Combines geometric and analytical perspectives.
  • Enables use of the co-ordinate system without the loss of geometric insight.
  • Provides a framework for establishing equations valid in all coordinate systems.
  • Algorithmic.
  • Provides a language that is concise and powerful.
  • Based on a handful of operations.

Summation convention in Tensor algebra plays a crucial role. The convention is such that any lower-case alphabetic subscript that appears exactly twice in any term of an expression is understood to be summed over all the values that a subscript in that position can take.

The subscripted quantities may appear in the numerator and/or denominator of a term in an expression.

Subscripts that are summed over are called dummy subscripts, and others are free subscripts.

While introducing a dummy subscript into an expression, care needs to be taken not to use which is already present, either as a free / dummy subscript.


aijbjkckl   cannot and must not, be replaced by

aijbjjcjl   -NO

ailblkckl  – NO

aimbmkckl  – YES

aimbmncnl – YES