Question Video: Understanding the Definition of Displacement Science

Explain why 25 meters is not a displacement.

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Video Transcript

Explain why 25 meters is not a displacement.

25 meters is the length of some path that’s traveled. Say, for example, that that path starts here. 25 meters could look like this. But then this path also is 25 meters, so is this one, and so on. We see that 25 meters doesn’t tell us which path we follow, just that it’s 25 meters long. A displacement is different. Every displacement includes a length, like 25 meters, as well as a direction. To identify the displacement of this path, we might say 25 meters to the right, while this displacement would be 25 meters up. By itself, 25 meters doesn’t tell us a direction. For our answer, we’ll write that it is not stated what direction the 25 meters is in. This is why it is not a displacement.

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