Distance and Displacement





Distance

One of the most used concepts is “distance”, which means the total distance actually moved. If you move in zigzag, the actual distance traveled can be quite long even if the straight distance is short.

Displacement

‘Displacement’ is not a frequently used concept compared to ‘distance’. Displacement refers to straight line distances regardless of the intermediate path.

\[\Delta x=({ x }_{ 2 }-{ x }_{ 1 })\]

The Δ sign reads ‘delta’, which is the sign of the difference between the two values.
Therefore, in the above formula, Δx represents the distance difference between X1 and X2.
When moving on a two-dimensional plane, the displacement is measured by applying Pythagorean theorem.

\[\Delta xy=\sqrt { { ({ x }_{ 2 }-{ x }_{ 1 }) }^{ 2 }+{ ({ y }_{ 2 }-{ y }_{ 1 }) }^{ 2 } } \]