Definition of Displacement

The shortest distance between initial point and final point is known as Displacement.

More About Displacement:

  • The complete path covered by a body is not considered. Only the initial and final points are considered.
  • The "direction" is the deciding factor in displacement. Body/object must move in particular direction for determining the displacement.
  • Without considering the direction of body (through which it moved) it is not possible to determine the displacement.
    1. Example: An object moved from P to Q in the following path, covering a distance of 20m. The distance between Initial point "P" and Final point "Q" is only 2m.

    The displacement of the object is only 2m. 

  • Displacement is measured in meters. Represented with an arrow on the top ‘ →’
  • In order to represent displacement magnitude and direction both are required .
  • In the above example: 2m is the magnitude and is the direction. (Object moved from P to Q).

Worked Example:

Sam starts from point ‘X’ and moved towards east for 8m reaches the point "Y" and turns to his left covers a distance of 6m to reach the point ‘Z’. Find the displacement of Sam from "X" to "Z"
    A. 14m
    B. 2m
    C. 10m
    D. 20m

    Correct answer is C


    Step 1: Draw a rough figure with the given measurements.
    Step 2: The figure resembles a right triangle.
    Step 3: Apply the ‘Pythagoras’ theory to find ‘XZ’.
    Square of the hypotenuse is equal to sum of the squares of other two sides.
    Step 4:

    Step 5:

Related terms: Displacement | Speed, | Length.
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