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Homework Help: Object Displacement from one point in space to another.

  1. Mar 9, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    An object goes from one point in space to another. After it arrives at its destination, its displacement is _________________ than the distance it traveled.

    A) either greater than or equal to
    B) always greater than
    C) always equal to
    D) either smaller than or equal to
    E) always smaller than
    F) either smaller or larger

    2. Relevant equations

    N/A

    3. The attempt at a solution

    So, I thought that the displacement either smaller or larger than the distance traveled but I did not get this problem correct on my homework. Now that I am thinking about it more, I realize that displacement is the amount of movement by an object in a particular direction. So, would it instead be answer (C) always equal to? I just need this for verification purposes to make sure that my knowledge in this area is accurate. Any assistance on this problem would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2010 #2

    collinsmark

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    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Here's a hint. As far as we know, the object could have traveled from its initial point to its final point along a curved line. Hypothetically, it could have weaved around all willy-nilly in some sort of weird maze-like swirly, spiral path. The distance it traveled is the overall length of that curly path (imagine starting from home, and riding a bicycle all around town, and ending up at your neighbor's house. You ended up pretty close to home, but the distance traveled for that bicycle ride was quite far). [Edit: Or, as far as we know it might have went straight to its destination.]

    Displacement, on the other hand is a vector, and is a straight line between two points. It matters not how something got from its initial point to its final point, in terms of displacement.
     
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