Average speed and velocity

Average speed and average velocity are the two terms which are used pretty often in the world of Physics and because both the terms are used to express a similar thing i.e “how fast an object is moving”. Both of these terms are used most of time interchangeably in day to day life but due to this we often forget the basics of physics and misinterpret meaning of speed and velocity to be the same. 

So before understanding the meaning of average speed and average velocity and define it’s formula, lets learn some basic terms to clear the basics of Physics. 

Scalar: A scalar quantity is defined as the physical quantity that only has magnitude. For eg, the weight of a bowling ball is 3 Kg. In this example, 3 Kg is the magnitude of the bowling ball and that’s why weight is known as scalar quantity. 

Vector: A vector quantity is the physical quantity that has magnitude as well as direction attached to it as well. For eg, displacement is a vector quantity because it depends on magnitude as well as direction. 

Distance: It’s a scalar quantity which generally implies how much length is been covered by the object. 

Displacement: It’s a vector quantity which is the shortest way possible between two different point. 

Speed and velocity:

So now your basic terminology is clear about scalar and vector quantities. So let’s discuss about speed and velocity and what we understand about it. 

Speed denotes that how fast an object is moving. If the speed of an object is high it means the object is moving fast and if it’s low, the objects is moving slowly. As speed is a scalar quantity, it only has magnitude and no direction.

Velocity is a vector quantity which means it has both magnitude and direction. It represents the rate at which the object is moving in a direction and changing position. The direction of the vector of velocity is easy to find. It will be same as the direction of the moving object. 

Average speed:

The average speed of the body in the certain time interval is the amount of distance covered by the body in that particular time interval. To understand this in more clear terms, lets take an example. If an object covers a certain distance “d” in a time “t1” to “t2” then the average speed of the body is: 

General formula of Average speed = Total Distance / Total time 

Average velocity:

Similar to average speed, the average velocity of the object in a certain time interval is the displacement of the object in the that time interval. So for example, if a particle covers a certain displacement “AB” in a time “t1” to “t2“, then the average velocity of the body will be: 

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