# Distance vs. Displacement

## Key Differences

## Comparison Chart

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### Formula

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### Distance vs. Displacement

Distance and displacement are two terms in Physics which are used to indicate the length between two locations, points or objects. Distance is the numerical measurement of actual length between two objects. It is a scalar quantity and is always positive. While displacement is the shortest path between two objects. It is a vector quantity and may be positive negative or zero. The SI unit of both distance and displacement is a meter (m).

### What is Distance?

Distance is defined as the numerical quantity that determines the actual length between two points. Total distance can be calculated by adding all the intervals. It is only concerned with size or magnitude and ignores the direction of the path. So, it is a scalar quantity. Distance is always positive and provides complete information about the path. It always increases with time. It cannot be indicated by drawing an arrow. Distance can be calculated by multiplying the speed of the moving object with time. It is denoted by “S”.

#### Formula

Distance = Speed × Time or S = v × t

#### Example

If a person moves from a point A 5m towards the right and then 4m towards the left to reach a point B then total distance can be obtained by adding both intervals, i.e. S= 5+4 =9 So, the total distance covered by the person is 9 meters.

### What is Displacement?

Displacement is defined as the length of the shortest path between two points. It is actually changing in position and mostly in a straight line. Displacement is concerned with both the magnitude and direction of the path. So, it is a vector quantity. It does not provide any information about the route and its value may be positive, negative or even zero. It is changing in a position that matters not the route. So, if the change in position is zero than displacement will be zero. A change to the left is indicated by negative value e.g. -2m while a change to the right will be indicated by a positive value e.g. 2m. Displacement can be indicated easily by simply drawing an arrow. Displacement can be counted by multiplying velocity and time. It is denoted by “d”

#### Formula

Displacement = velocity × time or d = v × t

#### Example

If a person travels 5m towards the north and then 5m towards the south than the displacement will be zero because same distance but in opposite directions will cancel out each other.