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Uniform Motion vs. Non-Uniform Motion: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Aimie Carlson || Published on February 3, 2024
Uniform motion means moving at a constant speed in a straight line, whereas non-uniform motion involves changes in speed or direction.

Key Differences

Uniform motion is defined by constant speed and direction, meaning no acceleration. Non-uniform motion involves changes in speed and/or direction, indicating the presence of acceleration.
A car cruising at a steady speed exhibits uniform motion. In contrast, a car speeding up, slowing down, or turning demonstrates non-uniform motion.
In uniform motion, a distance-time graph is a straight line, while in non-uniform motion, the graph is curved, indicating changing speed.
Uniform motion implies no net force acting on the object (in ideal conditions), while non-uniform motion suggests a net force is influencing the object's movement.
Calculating parameters in uniform motion is straightforward due to constant speed and direction. In non-uniform motion, calculus is often required to handle changing velocities.

Comparison Chart




Unchanging (straight line)
Can change (curved path)



Graph Representation

Straight line in distance-time graph
Curved line in distance-time graph

Force Influence

No net force (in ideal conditions)
Net force present

Uniform Motion and Non-Uniform Motion Definitions

Uniform Motion

A type of motion without acceleration.
The cruise ship sailed in uniform motion across the calm sea.

Non-Uniform Motion

A type of motion where velocity is not constant.
The taxi experienced non-uniform motion in the busy city traffic.

Uniform Motion

Steady motion in a single direction.
The conveyor belt's uniform motion helps in consistent movement of packages.

Non-Uniform Motion

Irregular motion along a path.
The butterfly's flight path was an example of non-uniform motion.

Uniform Motion

Movement at a constant speed in a straight line.
A satellite orbiting Earth in uniform motion maintains a constant velocity.

Non-Uniform Motion

Changing motion, either in speed or direction.
The wind’s non-uniform motion caused unpredictable sailboat movements.

Uniform Motion

Linear motion with a constant rate.
A fan blade rotates at uniform motion when on a constant setting.

Non-Uniform Motion

Motion with varying speed or direction.
The roller coaster's non-uniform motion thrilled the riders with its speed changes.

Uniform Motion

Motion where velocity remains unchanged over time.
The train traveled with uniform motion, keeping a steady speed.

Non-Uniform Motion

Movement characterized by acceleration.
The athlete showed non-uniform motion during the sprint, accelerating rapidly.


How is velocity in uniform motion?

Constant and in a straight line.

What is non-uniform motion?

Motion with changing speed and/or direction.

Is walking an example of non-uniform motion?

Usually yes, as walking speed and direction often vary.

Can uniform motion occur in a circle?

No, because direction changes, making it non-uniform.

What causes non-uniform motion?

External forces causing acceleration or deceleration.

Is driving on a highway uniform motion?

If at constant speed and straight, yes; otherwise, no.

What defines uniform motion?

Constant speed and direction without acceleration.

Can an object in space exhibit uniform motion?

Yes, if it moves at a constant speed and direction.

Is constant speed enough for uniform motion?

Constant speed and direction both are needed.

Does a pendulum have uniform motion?

No, its speed and direction change, so it's non-uniform.

Is escalator movement uniform motion?

Yes, if it moves at a constant speed in a straight line.

Can velocity be constant in non-uniform motion?

No, by definition, velocity changes in non-uniform motion.

Can airplanes exhibit uniform motion?

Yes, when cruising at a constant altitude and speed.

What role does friction play in non-uniform motion?

It can cause deceleration, contributing to non-uniform motion.

Does non-uniform motion imply varying acceleration?

Yes, it can involve changing rates of acceleration.

How do you calculate distance in uniform motion?

Distance = speed × time.

What factors affect non-uniform motion?

Forces like gravity, friction, and applied force.

What graph represents non-uniform motion?

A curved line on a distance-time graph.

Why is non-uniform motion complex to analyze?

Due to variable speed and direction, often requiring calculus.

How does acceleration differ in these motions?

It's absent in uniform motion but present in non-uniform motion.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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