Hopefully you now understand the conceptual difference between distance and displacement. Understanding concepts is half the battle in physics. The other half is math. A stumbling block to new physics students is trying to wade through the math of physics while also trying to understand the associated concepts.
Distance and displacement are two quantities that seem to mean the same but are distinctly different with different meanings and definitions. Distance is the measure of “how much ground an object has covered during its motion” while displacement refers to the measure of “how far out of place is an object.”
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A displacement field is a vector field of all displacement vectors for all particles in the body, which relates the deformed configuration with the undeformed configuration. It is convenient to do the analysis of deformation or motion of a continuum body in terms of the displacement field.
vibrates up and down. For each snapshot, we measure theinstantaneous displacement of the bar, which is the difference between the position of the bar at the split second that the snapshot is taken and the position of the bar at rest. The rest position of the bar is arbitrarily given a displacement of zero; positive numbers are used for
(a) This is a function of displacement. (b) We require both magnitude and direction to define velocity. (c) Instantaneous velocity is the velocity at any given moment of time, whereas average velocity is the total displacement divided by total time. (d) A changing velocity indicates acceleration.
In physics, we use these words and many more. We will be expanding upon this vocabulary list with words such as distance, displacement, speed, velocity, and acceleration. As we will soon see, these words are associated with mathematical quantities that have strict definitions.