Log In Start studying!

Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Answers without the blur. Sign up and see all textbooks for free! Illustration


College Physics (Urone)
Found in: Page 78

Answers without the blur.

Just sign up for free and you're in.


Short Answer

Give an example in which there are clear distinctions among distance traveled, displacement, and magnitude of displacement. Specifically, identify each quantity in your example

Distance is a scalar quantity, and displacement is a vector quantity. Distance needs only magnitude to be mentioned, whereas displacement needs magnitude.

See the step by step solution

Step by Step Solution

Step 1: Distance and Displacement

Distance: The total number of lengths covered by any object in terms of number is considered as the distance covered by that object.

The distance covered by the objects is measured in many units like kilometers, meters, etc.

But the SI unit of distance is METER.

To mention the value of distance, we only need the magnitude. In which direction the body is moving is not necessary.

Hence distance is said as a scalar quantity.

Displacement: The displacement is the length that is measured between the intial position of the body and the final position of the body. The length measured is the shortest length.

To describe displacement, we need both magnitudes as well as direction.

Step 2: Example of distance and displacement

Suppose a man is walking in a park shaped like a square. The side of the park is 10 meters. He takes 2 rounds and comes back to the intial position, as shown in the figure.

So, in this case, let's find out the distance.

Distance traveled by the man is the perimeter of the square,

=4a= 4 x 10 = 40 meter

He takes two rounds, so the total distance traveled by the man will be,

=40+ 40=80m

To find out displacement, we need to calculate the shortest distance between the intial and the final position.

Here, in this case, the intial and final positions are the same so that the shortest distance will be zero.

Therefore displacement is a vector quantity, while distance is a scalar quantity. The magnitude of a distance must be specified, whereas the magnitude of a displacement must be mentioned.

Recommended explanations on Physics Textbooks

94% of StudySmarter users get better grades.

Sign up for free
94% of StudySmarter users get better grades.