Hi, I am working on some acceleration, velocity, and position problems and I wanted to know the difference between distance and total distance. Any guidance would be helpful.

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- Jan 5th 2009, 02:20 PMCalcGeek31Distance vs. Total distance
Hi, I am working on some acceleration, velocity, and position problems and I wanted to know the difference between distance and total distance. Any guidance would be helpful.

- Jan 5th 2009, 02:25 PMcraig
The way I got tought it is the following.

Say a particle moves from the starting point upwards to a point 10 metres above the ground, then falls back to the starting position.

The total distance the particle has moved is of course 20 metres, but the**displacement**(distance moved from starting point) is 0.

Sorry if this is not what you meant :) - Jan 5th 2009, 02:30 PMCalcGeek31
That is what Im looking for but in a hint that are teacher gave, she told us that displacement was total distance. I am not sure it that is right but I think she stated it wrongly. Correct me if I am wrong

- Jan 5th 2009, 02:32 PMcraig
Could she have said that displacement is total distance traveled from the starting point or something like that?

Sounds a bit ambiguous what she has said ;) - Jan 5th 2009, 03:35 PMmr fantastic
**The statement "displacement was total distance" is totally wrong.**

Consider a particle that moves 4 units right and then 4 units left. Displacement = 0 units, distance = 8 units ....

The difference between displacement and total distance (from which all other differences come from) is that displacement is a vector and distance is a scalar. - Jan 5th 2009, 04:22 PMskeeter
distance traveled displacement

equality between the two occurs only if velocity is positive and there is no change in direction