Enter the final velocity, initial velocity, and the total time of an object to calculate the total displacement of that object.
What is displacement?
Displacement is a term used in science to describe the total distance from one point to another. Most often it’s implicated in situations in which an object has undergone some sort of change in position due to a velocity. Otherwise, if a point to point with no velocity is being measured, this is usually referred to as a distance. But both can be used interchangeably.
The most common formula for calculating a displacement is through using an average velocity.
- Where:s is displacement (m)
- v is the final velocity (m/s)
- u is the initial velocity (m/s)
- t is the time (s)
In the above formula the average velocity is taken by 1/2*(v+u). Another common formula is through the use of acceleration. in that case, the final velocity is replaced with (v+a*t)
- Where a is the acceleration of the object (m/s^2)
If you think about it conceptually, acceleration is the change is velocity over time, so the final velocity would be the initial velocity plus the acceleration * time.
How to calculate displacement
The following example is a step by step guide on how to calculate displacement.
- The first step is to analyze the formula for displacement and determine which variables we must measure or find. In this case that would be initial velocity, final velocity, and time. For this example we are going to assume the initial velocity and time are given, but instead of final velocity, the acceleration is provided. These are 10m/s, 10 seconds, and 10 m/s^2.
- Now we must determine the final velocity using the information we have. This is as simple as using the equation (v+a*t) = 10 + 10*10 = 110m/s.
- The next step is to determine the average velocity. The average velocity will be equal to the initial velocity plus the final velocity divided by 2 = 110+10 /2 = 60m/s.
- The final step is to calculate the displacement using the average velocity and time, so 60m/s* 10s = 600 meters of displacement.