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Displacement: Formula, Definition, Examples & More

Mayank Uttam

Check displacement definition, formula, examples and questions based on the displacement formula. After going through this article, students can easily solve many questions based on displacement which is one of the most important concepts of Physics. 

Definition of Displacement:

The shortest distance measured from the initial to the final position of an object is known as the displacement. It is a vector quantity.  It’s SI unit is meter.

Displacement Formula:

s = vt

s = ut + ½ at2

v2 = u2 + 2 as

Here, s is displacement, u is initial velocity, v is final velocity, a is acceleration. 

Displacement Formula In Cartesian Coordinate:

Magnitude of displacement of a particle from origin (0, 0) if the particle has coordinates (x, y

= (x2 + y2)½

Magnitude of displacement of a particle from origin (x1, y1) if the particle has coordinates (x2, y2

= [(x2 - x1)2 + (y2 - y1)2]1/2sasd

Questions Based on Displacement Formula:

Consider A square ABCD with side length 1 meter. A particle currently at point A starts moving and reaches point C. What is the magnitude of displacement?

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Magnitude of displacement is the length of the diagonal of the square = √2

Displacement is a scalar quantity or vector quantity?

Displacement is a vector quantity.

Can the magnitude of the displacement be equal to the distance travelled by an object?

Yes. Suppose if an object is moving in a straight line without changing direction.

An object has moved through a distance. Can it have zero displacement? If yes, support your answer with an example.

Yes, imagine a moving object traversing around a circular path. If it started from a point and reached back to the same point again then net displacement will be zero although it has covered some distance.  

Find the displacement of an object which accelerates from rest to 30 m/s in 3s.

A: Here, initial velocity = 0, final velocity = 30m/s, time taken = 3s. 

So, acceleration = 30/3 = 10 m/s² 

Displacement = ut + ½ at² = ½ x 10 x 9 = 45 m.

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