Distance & Displacement

Definition:

  • Distance is a scalar quantity that refers to "how much ground an object has covered" during its motion.
  • Displacement is a vector quantity that refers to "how far out of place an object is"; it is the object's overall change in position.
  • Simplified definition:

    Distance: scalar quantity representing the interval between two points.

    Displacement: distance between the initial point and final point of an object.

    PRACTICE QUESTIONS:

    1. What is the displacement of the swimmer team if they begin at the starting point, swim 5 miles and finish back at its starting point?

    2. True or False? Displacement is a vector quantity having both magnitude and direction.

    3. True or False? Distance is just the magnitude of the interval.

    4. What is the distance and the displacement of the race car drivers in the Indy 500?

    answers:

    1. Zero miles

    2. True

    3. True

    4.Zero miles