Activity › Discussion › Math › Distance and displacement › Reply To: Distance and displacement

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In maths, we don’t observe much difference between distance or displacement but from a physics point of view, it is pretty different from each other.
So, let’s understand the concept of Distance and Displacement in maths a well as physics.
1. The total length of the path between any two points is called distance whereas the length between any two points when measured along the minimum path between them, is called displacement.
2. Distance is denoted by d while Displacement is denoted by s.
3. To calculate distance, the direction is not considered whereas, in the calculation of the displacement, the direction is considered.
4. Distance is a scalar quantity as it only depends upon the magnitude and not the direction whereas Displacement is a vector quantity as it depends upon both magnitudes as well as direction.
5. The distance can be measured along a nonstraight path whereas the displacement can only be measured along a straight path.
6. The distance can only have a positive value while displacement can be positive, negative, and even zero.
7. Distance gives detailed route information that is followed while traveling from one point to another while displacement refers to the shortest path, it does not give complete information on the route.
8. The formula of distance is given by: Speed × Time whereas the formula if displacement is given by: Velocity × Time
9. Distance depends upon the path i.e. it changes according to the path taken whereas Displacement does not depend upon the path and it only depends upon the initial and final position of the body.
For example:
Consider a ground in the form of a circle. Car A moves from a fixed point on the circle along the perimeter of the circle. so, the distance covered by the car is the perimeter of the circle i.e. 2*pi*r. whereas the displacement is zero.