Distance, Displacement, Average Speed, Average Velocity - Physics | Summary and Q&A

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May 27, 2021
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The Organic Chemistry Tutor
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Distance, Displacement, Average Speed, Average Velocity - Physics

TL;DR

Learn the difference between distance and displacement, as well as how to calculate average speed and average velocity.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the difference between distance and displacement?

Distance is the total length covered, while displacement is the change in position from the start to the end. Distance is always positive, but displacement can be positive or negative, depending on direction.

Q: How do you calculate average speed?

Average speed is calculated by dividing the total distance traveled by the total time taken. It is a scalar quantity and is always positive.

Q: What is average velocity?

Average velocity is calculated by dividing the displacement by the time taken. It is a vector quantity and includes both magnitude and direction.

Q: Can you give an example of calculating distance and displacement?

Sure, if a person walks 10 miles to the east and then 5 miles to the west, the total distance traveled is 15 miles, while the net displacement is 5 miles to the east.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Distance is the total length covered, while displacement is the change in position from the start to the end.

  • Distance is always positive, but displacement can be positive or negative, depending on direction.

  • Average speed is the total distance traveled divided by the total time taken.

  • Average velocity is the displacement divided by the time taken.

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