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**SPEED AND VELOCITY NOTES**

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**Distance is a measure of how far an object has moved and is independent of direction.**

If a person travels 40m due east, turns and travels 30m due west, the distance traveled is 70m.

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**Displacement has both magnitude (measure of the distance) and direction.**

Displacement is a change of position in a particular direction. For example: 40m east is a displacement.

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Total or final displacement refers to both the distance and direction of an object’s change in position from the starting point or origin. Displacement only depends on the starting and stopping point. Displacement does not depend on the path taken. If a person travels 40m due east, turns and travels 30m due west, the total displacement of the person is 10m east. If a person travels 40m east and then travels another 50m east the total displacement is 90m east.

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**Speed is how fast something is going**

Speed is how fast something is going. It is a measure of the distance covered per unit of time and is always measured in units of distance divided by units of time. (The term “per” means “divided by”)

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**Speed is a rate as it is a change (change in distance) over a certain period of time.**

Speed is independent of direction.

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**The speed of an object can be described two ways:**

Instantaneous speed is “the speed at a specific instant”. Initial speed and final speed are examples of instantaneous speed. A speedometer measures instantaneous speed.

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**Velocity is a vector quantity, it has a direction!**

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In the equation, “v” can represent either velocity or speed and “d” can represent either displacement or distance, depending on the context of the problem.

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**The term “speed” or “velocity” refers to average speed or velocity.**

You must determine the “given” information in a problem using the correct units. Using the formula, v = d/t, you must be able to calculate average speed.

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**When calculating average speed using**

v = d/t: the average speed for the trip equals the total distance divided by the total time. Ignore the direction of the motion. You must be able to calculate average velocity.

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When calculating average velocity using v = d/t: the average velocity equals the total displacement divided by the total time. The total displacement may be different from the total distance. * When indicating the average velocity, direction must be given and the average velocity will have the same direction as the total displacement.

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