DifferencesPhysics

Difference Between Distance and Displacement (Tabular Form)

Do you want to know the difference between distance and displacement? If so, you are in the right place at the right time…!!!

The primary distinction between distance and displacement is that distance is the total path covered by a body while moving, whereas displacement is the shortest path covered by a body while moving.

Not to mention that both are used to specify the distance between the two locations. They are, however, diametrically opposed.

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In this exclusive article, we will discuss a variety of distance and displacement differences. But, before we get into the details, let me give you a quick rundown of the two in a table. Let’s get started…!!!

Distance vs Displacement

 DistanceDisplacement
1.Distance is the total path covered by a body during its motion.Displacement is the shortest path covered by a body during its motion
2.Distance is a scalar quantity. It has magnitude but no directionDisplacement is a vector quantity. It has both magnitude and direction.
3.It is path-dependent i.e it changes according to the path taken.It is not path-dependent i.e it does not change according to the path taken.
4.The value of the distance is always positive.The value of displacement can be negative, positive, or even zero.
5.Distance never decreases over time.In some special cases, displacement can decrease over time
6.It is denoted by “d”.It is denoted by “s”.
7.The S.I unit of distance is meter.The S.I unit of displacement is meter.
8.The formula for distance is Distance(d) = Speed(s) × Time (t).The formula for displacent is Displacement(s) = Velocity(v) ×Time(t).

From the above difference between distance and displacement in tabular form, you got the exact overview of these two. However, in order to get to know them, let us try to understand both of them in a detailed format. Keep reading!

What is Distance?

Distance is defined as the total path travelled by a body while in motion. The distance can also be defined as the actual length of a body’s path from one point to another. Please see the image below for a better understanding.

distance-and-displacement-difference
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Simply put, it tells us how much of a path a body has covered while moving. And, because it is a scalar quantity, there is no need to consider the direction of its motion when calculating distance.

The metre is the SI unit of distance. It is also denoted by the letter “d.” There is no need to indicate it with an arrow simply because it is a scalar quantity.

Properties of Distance

There can be so many properties of distance. Some of them are listed below:

  • Distance is a scalar quantity.
  • Distance is path-dependent.
  • The distance between two points is always positive.
  • Distance is symmetric, etc.

What is Displacement?

Displacement is defined as the shortest path travelled by a body while in motion. Displacement is also defined as the shortest length of a path taken by a body from one point to another.

Simply put, it tells us how far a body has moved from its original position. And, because it is a vector quantity, the direction of motion must be considered when calculating displacement.

The meter is the SI unit of displacement. It is also denoted by “s.” Because displacement is a vector quantity, it is always denoted by an arrow.

Properties of Displacement

There can be so many properties of displacement. Some of them are listed below:

  • Displacement is a vector quantity.
  • Displacement is path-independent.
  • The displacement between two points can be negative, positive, or, zero.
  • Displacement is anti-symmetric, etc.

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