A vector quantity is fully described by its magnitude, unit, and direction, e.g.

You are watching: Is distance a vector or scalar

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Distance and also Displacement

Distance is a scalar quantity. It procedures the total distance travelled, no matter in which direction.

Displacement is a vector quantity. It is the length measured from the beginning point to the finishing suggest in a right line. The direction should be stated.

Example

A girl go 3 kilometres due north then turns and walks 4 km due east as presented in the diagram.

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Calculate

(a) The total distance travelled(b) The girl’s final displacement loved one to her beginning position.

Solution

(a) Total distance = 3 kilometres + 4 km = 7 km

(b) (to calculate displacement, we require to attract a vector diagram) 

(this solution requires using Phythagoras and trig features (SOH-CAH=TOA), yet you can additionally solve these species of difficulties using a scale diagram).

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Speed and Velocity

Speed is a scalar quantity. As disputed above, speed is the distance travelled per unit time.

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Velocity is a vector quantity (the vector indistinguishable of speed). Velocity is characterized as the displacement per unit time.

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Since velocity is a vector, you must state its direction. 

The direction of velocity will be the very same as the displacement.

Example

The girl’s go in the previous example took 2.5 hours.

See more: Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge Map, World'S Longest

Calculate

(a) The typical speed(b) The average velocity because that the walk, both in km/h

Solution

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(a) Distance = 7 kilometres   Time = 2.5 hours

  

  

  

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(b) Displacement = 5 km (053˚)   Time = 2.5 hours

   

 

 

(When performing calculations on speed and also velocity prefer the above, it is finest to compose the equations in words as shown, to protect against confusion with symbols. This communicates your expertise in the clearest way).


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