Conceptual Dynamics - Independent Learning

Plane Curvilinear Motion: x-y Coordinates


Position, Displacement & Total Distance Traveled


The position (r) of a particle is where it is located in the plane, the displacement (Δr) is the change in position and the total distance traveled (stotal) is just what it says. Because a plane is 2-D, we need a vector to describe the position and displacement of a particle. The total distance traveled is a scalar.




  • Position: r = xi + yj
  • Displacement: Δr = rfinal - rinitial




Velocity is the time rate of change of position.The velocity vector is always tangent to the path curve. For example, consider a runner running on the path shown. The velocity of the runner will always be tangent to the running path.



What is the difference between speed and velocity?

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