relation of distance to displacement

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Summary

relation of distance to displacement:

  • Distanceis a scalar measure of the interval between two locations measured along the actual path connecting them.
    • As a scalar it has magnitude only.
    • Δs(italic) is the symbol for distance.
  • Displacementis a vector measure of the interval between two locations measured along the shortest path connecting them.
    • As a vector it must be stated with both magnitude and direction.
    • Δs(boldface) is the symbol for displacement.
  • The origin of the symbols for distance (Δs) and displacement (Δs) is spatium, Latin for space.
  • The relation of distance to displacement
    • The distance traveled to get from one location to another is always greater than or equal to the magnitude of the displacement between the two locations.

Δs ≥ |Δs|

  • Distance approaches the magnitude of displacement as distance approaches zero.

Δs → 0

 ⇒

Δs → |Δs|

  • The SI unit of distance and displacement is the meter[m].

 

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