# Lesson 8: Velocity. Displacement & Time

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1 Lesson 8: Velocity Two branches in physics examine the motion of objects: Kinematics: describes the motion of objects, without looking at the cause of the motion (kinematics is the first unit of Physics 20). Dynamics: relates the motion of objects to the forces which cause them (dynamics is the second unit of Physics 20). As we work through these two units on kinematics and dynamics (and through the rest of physics) we will discuss two kinds of measurements (quantities): scalar: scalars have magnitude (a number value), but no direction. Examples: time, mass, distance. Mass is a great example, since it has a number value (like 58 kg), but we don't give it a direction (like East ). vector: have magnitude and direction Examples: velocity, force, displacement. Force has a magnitude (like 37 N) and a direction (like "pushed to the left"). Displacement & Time In kinematics we need to be able to have a way to describe the motion of the objects we will be studying, whether it's a car or an atom. The most basic information you must have to describe the motion of an object is its displacement, and the time it took to move that far. The displacement of an object is always measured from some reference point (which is usually zero, at a location at the start of the motion of the object). Although we use the words distance and displacement interchangeably in everyday language, they mean very different things in physics. The distance between two objects is scalar, since it doesn't matter which direction you measure it from. e.g. We are standing 2.3m apart. The displacement of an object is a vector, since you have to state the direction the object has traveled. e.g. The car moved 2.56km east. The most simple formula for calculating the displacement of an object is Quantity is the root word for "quantitative" measurements. This means you're supposed to get a number answer. A qualitative measurement describes qualities of the data, like the apple is red. Δd = d f - d i The Δ symbol is the greek letter delta and means a change in The subscript f and i stand for final and initial. So, in this formula, we calculate the displacement of an object by taking the final position minus the initial position. 2/14/2015 studyphysics.ca Page 1 of 5 / Section 1.1

3 Example 4: Look back at Example 2. Determine your speed and velocity if the walk took you one hour and ten minutes. First thing you should do is change the time into seconds. 1 hour = 3600 s 10 minutes = 600 s I can give myself a bunch of sig digs here. Since I wrote out the time in the question in words, I basically have as many sig digs for the time measurement as I want. To figure out the speed, we need to use the distance (in metres!) you traveled in 4200 s. That way we are using only scalar measurements. v= 3.8e v = =0.90 m/s To figure out the velocity we need to use the displacement you traveled. Now we are using only vector measurements. Average Velocity v= 1.2e v = = 0.29 m/ s This is the first major formula, used for the calculation of average velocity. v ave = Δ d Δ t v = velocity (m/s) d = displacement (m) t = time (s) It is called average velocity because it looks at your overall velocity for the entire trip, not at any one particular velocity you might have been traveling at during the trip. What you have to measure is the total displacement divided by the total time. If you drive 275 km to Calgary in 3.00 hours, I calculate your velocity based on this information. The velocity I calculate, 91.7km/h, will be your average velocity s When you write the formula, you can skip putting in the arrows you see on the data sheet. They're just there to remind you that those measurements are vectors. I'm looking at the entire trip. It would certainly be rare if you had driven at exactly 91.7km/h every single moment during your drive to Calgary. Sometimes you would have been going faster, sometimes slower, but overall your average velocity was 91.7km/h. You basically have to look at the start and finish only, how far did you move from where you started (displacement) in a certain amount of total time. These questions can also involve moving at different velocities for different periods of time; we need to be really careful with these questions... 2/14/2015 studyphysics.ca Page 3 of 5 / Section 1.1

4 Example 5: I try to run the 100m race to break the world's record. Unfortunately, it takes me 16.83s to complete the run, so I don't think I'll be in the record books. Determine my average velocity. This is an easy calculation... nothing fancy. = = =5.94m/ s I will usually just write the formula without the delta's, but keep in mind that they can be important. This is my average velocity. It does not show that I have to speed up at the start of the race, or that maybe I was slowing down near the end. Example 6: A car drives along the highway at 115 km/h for 2.50 h. Once in the city, the car drives at 60.0 km/h for the next h. Determine the average velocity of the car. Warning! You MUST resist the temptation to just add the two velocities and divide by 2! The average velocity is based on he total displacement of the car for the entire time it was moving, so we first need to figure out the total displacement, and then the total time. Total displacement... First part of the drive... d=vt= d=287.5km Second part of the drive... d=vt= d=30 km So, in total, the car moved km. We can also see that the total time driving was 2.50h h = 3.00 h. The average velocity is... v= v = =106 km/h Converting km/h and m/s In everyday conversation we usually talk about velocity in kilometres per hour (km/h), but need to use metres per second in physics formulas. You can convert km/h to m/s by dividing by 3.6 (this is an exact value and has an infinite number of sig digs). The answer from Example 6 would be 29.4m/s To convert m/s to km/h multiply by 3.6 Warning! This conversion from km/h to m/s by dividing by 3.6 only works for velcoity! Do NOT use it for any other conversions! The answer from Example 5 would be 21.4 km/h. If you ever do a calculation like this, use the original number on your calculator, not the rounded off answer. 2/14/2015 studyphysics.ca Page 4 of 5 / Section 1.1

5 Notice that for most of the examples we've looked at the displacement and the velocity were positive numbers. Positive and negative tell you which direction you are going with respect to the reference point. (Remember, these are vectors.) A positive velocity means you are moving forward, to the right, or up, while negative means you are going backwards, to the left, or down. This is why it is so important to pay attention to the numbers you are using in your calculations. Example 6: A train is moving backwards at a velocity of 13.5 km/h for 6.40 minutes. Determine the train's displacement. First we need to make sure we are dealing with standard units, and that the numbers have the correct sign. v = km/h = m/s t = 6.40 minutes = 384 s d =vt= 3.75(384) d = 1440= 1.44e3 m Uniform Motion & Instantaneous Velocity In many of the questions we will be doing we have to assume that the object is moving at exactly the same velocity the whole time. Although this is not very realistic, it makes doing the questions a lot easier. For now we will assume that the object is not accelerating at all. If the velocity of an object is always the same, we say it has a constant velocity. We can also call this uniform motion. You still use the same formula as for average velocity. Uniform motion is the easiest kind of motion to describe and measure, since it is always the same. If the object is accelerating in any way we have to use different formulas (coming up in Lesson 10). In the examples you've done so far, and in most questions you'll do for now, you assume that it is uniform motion unless you are told otherwise. In real life we often have to deal with an object traveling without uniform velocity. Things are always speeding up and slowing down. Driving in a car you glance down at the speedometer and measure your velocity, but that is only how fast you were going at that instant of time! A split second later you might be going a bit faster or a bit slower. That's why we call the measurement an instantaneous velocity, the velocity of an object at one moment of time. It is often easier to measure instantaneous velocity if you are looking at a graph of the motion of an object (this also comes up in a later lesson). Homework p.9 #1-3 p.10 #1-3, 7 To change minutes into seconds, we need to use the ratio of 60s/min. Do not change 6.40 minutes to 640s, because that is wrong. 2/14/2015 studyphysics.ca Page 5 of 5 / Section 1.1

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