Speed and velocity are two significant parameters that contribute to the description of an object’s motion. While both values may be used to determine an object’s trajectory, speed is a scalar quantity while velocity is a vector quantity. A scalar quantity provides magnitude information. On the other hand, a vector quantity includes direction and magnitude information. Speed is a helpful term for defining how quickly an item travels, whereas velocity refers to the displacement of an object from a certain position. Locating an item in respect to a reference point is possible through displacement. It is a shift in position between two points.
The fundamental units of speed and velocity are used by physicists to describe the motion of objects in terms of space, time, and direction. Two terms, two different connotations. Nevertheless, we frequently hear these words employed in the same sentence. What makes a difference, then? Why is it improper to conflate the words velocity and speed?
It’s easy to understand why. Velocity is the pace and direction of an item’s movement, whereas speed is the time rate at which an object is travelling along a route. In other words, velocity is a vector, whereas speed is a scalar number. For instance, 50 km/hr west denotes the velocity of a car whereas 50 km/hr (31 mph) denotes the speed at which it is moving down a route.
What is Speed?
Often represented in terms of metres per second (m/s), speed is defined as the magnitude of an object’s velocity. However, speed is always described in terms of length/time. It is determined by the overall distance an object travels in one unit of time.
For instance, if a person starts at point A, moves 5 metres in one direction to point B, then moves another 5 metres in the other way to point C, the total distance travelled is 10 metres. However, the speed is 0.1 m/s if the individual covered this distance in 100 seconds. Speed is regarded as a scalar number since only the magnitude of the value is known and information regarding direction is not.
Speed is defined by Galileo as the distance travelled per unit of time. In the same amount of time, a man travelling by vehicle will cover a greater distance than a man travelling by bicycle. This is due to the fact that an automobile can go faster than a bicycle. In kinematics, speed is the magnitude component of velocity, hence it is a scalar number.
Distance/time = Speed
It is measured in metres per second. m/ s.
: This is the speed at any given time. For example, any vehicle’s speedometer may display immediate speed. It is defined mathematically as the magnitude of the instantaneous velocity that is the derivative of the location with respect to time.
Unlike instantaneous speed, average speed is the overall distance travelled in a given time frame. In other terms, the average speed of the body equals the whole distance travelled divided by the total time period.
: It is a speed that rotates. In other terms, the rotational speed of a body is the number of rotations it makes per unit time.
The linear speed of a body travelling in a circular route.
Relative Speed: It is obvious from the name that each body’s speed is based on the speed of any other body. This means that any body’s speed may be understood in relation to another body.
Speed is classified into two types:
Uniform Speed: A body’s speed is uniform when the distance travelled in equal intervals of time.
Non-uniform Speed: Non-uniform speed occurs when the distance travelled by a body is uneven at equal intervals of time.
What is Velocity?
Velocity is measured in metres per second (m/s) and is defined as the distance travelled by an item in a unit of time. The expression of velocity may also be done using other types of units of length or time. It is the ratio of displacement that takes place over a known time period to that same period, or the speed at which displacement changes over time. The positional difference between two points is known as displacement. Given that it contains directional information, it is regarded as a vector quantity.
A vector number known as velocity describes “the rate at which an object changes its location.” Imagine a person moving quickly, taking one stride ahead, one step back, and then beginning from the same place each time. This may cause a flurry of activity, but the velocity would be zero. The motion would never affect the person’s position since they always return to their starting position. Since the rate at which a location changes determines velocity, this motion has zero velocity. A person in motion must make every attempt to go as far away from their starting point as possible if they want to optimise their velocity.
Various Types of Velocity
A constant velocity is a speed that goes in a straight line regardless of direction or speed.
A velocity that modifies either the speed or the direction, or modifies both, is known as a changing velocity. Another name for this is acceleration.
Instantaneous velocity is the term used to describe a situation when speed and direction change at a certain moment.
: The constant velocity that an object reaches when gravity takes control and causes it to descend towards the earth via the atmosphere is referred to as the object’s terminal velocity.
Your response to this question impacts whether you compute speed or velocity.
The average speed is the pace at which distance changes over time.
The average velocity is the pace at which displacement changes over time.
And for those of you who are familiar with calculus…
The first derivative of distance with respect to time is instantaneous speed.
The first derivative of displacement with respect to time is instantaneous velocity.
Differences Between Velocity and Speed
The rate of motion of an item is measured by both speed and velocity. The fact that speed is a scalar number, nevertheless, means that it can be quantified. A vector quantity, velocity relies on both direction and magnitude. For further detail, see the following definitions:
speed is the pace at which a moving item covers distance over time.
The rate of displacement of a moving item over time is known as velocity.
In essence, an object’s speed indicates how quickly it is moving. Its velocity reveals how quickly it is moving in a specific direction. In your daily life, you utilise speed measures, but in physics, velocity measurements are more commonly used.
Equations for Velocity and Speed
When you compare their equations, it is simplest to grasp how speed and velocity differ from one another. Measure an object’s distance (d) over time (t) to get its speed (s):
s = d/t
Once you are aware of the object’s speed, you may determine its average velocity by multiplying the displacement change (d) by the time change (t):
v = Δs/Δt
Although it may not appear obvious to the average traveller, it is crucial to understand the distinction between an object’s speed and velocity when studying physics. The item has moved in a straight line when they have the same value. Various speed and velocity data suggest that the object’s course was not straight.
Differentiate between velocity and speed
- Speed is defined as the distance travelled in one unit of time, whereas velocity is defined as the displacement travelled in one unit of time.
- The distinction between distance and displacement is that distance is a scalar number that deals with the total area covered by an item, whereas displacement is a vector quantity that deals with the change in position of the object. The distance can never be 0, although the displacement may.)
- Velocity is a vector, whereas speed is a scalar number.
- Speed alone defines the magnitude, or how quickly a body is travelling, whereas velocity also indicates the direction, or which way the body is travelling.
- Speed is the pace at which distance changes, whereas velocity is the rate at which time changes.