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Main Kinematics & Dynamics Distance & Displacement

Unit I:Kinematics & Dynamics

Distance and Displacement

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson you will be able to:

  1. Define the following terms: position, reference point, displacement, equivalent displacements, distance.
  2. Distinguish among position, displacement, and distance.
  3. Use a number line to specify a position.
  4. Recognize equivalent displacement vectors.
  5. Add displacement vectors mathematically and graphically..
  6. Solve problems related to position, displacement, and distance.
  7. Demonstrate the correct use of SI units and their corresponding prefixes.

Online Activities

Key Concepts

  • The position postion vector symbol of an object is its location relative to a reference point. It is a vector quantity. SI unit is the meter.
  • Displacement (Displacement symbol) is the change in position of an object in a specific direction. It is a vector quantity. SI unit is the meter.
  • Distance (Distance symbol) is the path traveled by an object. No direction is required; therefore, distance is a scalar quantity. SI unit is the meter.
  • Equivalent displacements have the same magnitude and direction. They can have different origins.
  • Adding collinear vectors on a number line yields the resultant displacement vector.
  • Displacement vectors can be added mathematically and algebraically (Pythagorean theorem, vector component method, Sine and Cosine Laws) to determine the resultant displacement vector.


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