Q:

What describes the speed and direction of an object?

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Quick Answer

Velocity describes the speed and direction of an object. Speed tells how fast an object moves, but velocity is a vector measurement and includes both the rate and direction of an object's change of position.

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Full Answer

The formula for calculating speed is distance traveled divided by time traveled. The formula for calculating velocity is the change of position, or displacement, divided by time. The difference between velocity and speed is more easily understood with the following example: a car completing a 10-mile course in 30 minutes has a speed of 20 miles per hour. If that car traveled at a speed of 20 miles per hour for five miles forward and then at the same speed for five miles in reverse, the velocity is zero because the car had no net displacement. It ended up in the same place it started.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the formula for finding speed?

    A:

    The general formula for finding speed is x = d / t, where "x" denotes the speed, "d" indicates the distance traveled and "t" represents the time it takes to cover "d." Speed is a scalar quantity that is entirely defined by its magnitude without referencing its direction.

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  • Q:

    What is a change in speed or direction called?

    A:

    "Acceleration" is a term used to describe a change in speed or direction. The term "speed" is used to describe an object when direction is unimportant, while the term "velocity" is used to describe an object that is changing direction.

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    What are the three types of acceleration?

    A:

    In physics, the three types of acceleration are changes in speed, direction and both simultaneously. The word "velocity" is often used in place of speed. A person can calculate the acceleration of an object by determining its velocity and the length of time it accelerates.

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  • Q:

    What is acceleration?

    A:

    Acceleration is any change in the speed or the direction of movement. It does not matter, from a scientific point of view, if only the direction changes but not the speed, as with a planet in a circular orbit, or if the object is reducing in speed but keeping the same direction. Acceleration, like velocity, is a vector quantity, so it can only occur in one direction.

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