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Distance and Displacement

1. A farmer moves along the boundary of a square field of side 10 m in 40 s. What will be the magnitude of
displacement of the farmer at the end of 2 minutes 20 seconds from his initial position.

Ans.
The farmer takes 40 s to cover 4 X 10 = 40 m.
In 2 min 20 sec ( (2X60) +20) =140 s) , he will cover a distance = (40/40)X 140 = 140 m.

Therefore , the farmer completes 140/40 = 3.5 rounds ( 3 complete rounds and a half round ) of the field in
2 min and 20 s.
That means , after 2 min 20s, the farmer will be at the opposite end of the starting point.

Now , there can be two extreme cases.

Case 1: Starting point is a corner point of the field.

In this case, the farmer will be at the diagonally opposite of the field after 2 min 20 s.

Hence , the displacement will be 10^2 X10^2 = 200 = 14.1 m

Case 2: Starting point is the middle point of any side of the field.

In this case the farmer will be at the middle point of the opposite side of the field after 2 min 20 s.
Therefore, the displacement will be equal to the side of the field, i.e. 10 m.
For any other starting point, the displacement will be between 14.1 m and 10 m.

2. A particle moves from a point P directly towards another point Q which is at a distance of 10 cm from P. it then comes back to P
directly. Calculate
i) The total distance travelled
ii) The displacement of the particle

Ans :
i) Total distance travelled = 10 + 10 = 20 cm
ii) Displacement is the shortest measurable distance between the initial and the final position and the final position of an
object. An object which has covered a distance can have zero displacement, if it comes back to its starting point, i.e.
the initial position.
Here the particle moves from Q to Q and then comes back to P directly. Hence the displacement of the particle is
ZERO.

3. A body thrown in the vertically upward direction rises upto a height h and comes back to the position of start . calculate
i) The total distance travelled by the body
ii) The displacement of the body.
Ans:
i) Total distance travelled = 2 X h = 2h
ii) The displacement of the body = ZERO

4. In a long distance race, the athletes were expected to take four round of the track such that the line of finish was same as the
line of start. Suppose the length of the track was 200 m.
Ans:
i) Total distance travelled = 4 X 200 = 800 m
ii) The displacement of the body = ZERO (Finish was same as the line of start)

5. A particle moves in a circle with O as centre and AO=OB=5 cm, as radius. It starts from A. Calculate
i) The distance covered.
ii) The displacement when it reaches B

Ans:
i) Distance covered = 2 * Pi * r
Pi = 22/7 = 3.14
R=5
Distance travelled = (2 *3.14* 5) = 7.85 cm

ii) Displacement

Displacement = OA^2 + OB^2 = 5^2 + 5^2 = 25+25 = 50 = 7.07 cm

Similar problems for reference

Example 4: An object moves from point A to B to C along the circle as shown in the
figure below.

a) Find the total distance covered by the moving object.

b) Find the displacement of the object.


Solution:

a) The total distance d is equal to half the circumference of the circle and given by

d = (1/2)(2 * Pi * 3) = 3 Pi km

b) The magnitude of the displacement D is equal to the diameter AC of the circle and
is given by

D = 2 * 3 = 6 km with direction to the East

Example 5: An object moves from point A to point B along the circle as shown in the
figure below.

a) Find the total distance covered by the moving object.

b) Find the magnitude of the displacement of the object.


Solution:

a) The total distance d is equal to the quarter the circumference of the circle and given
by

d = (1/4)(2 * Pi * 3) = 1.5 Pi km

b) The magnitude of the displacement D is equal to the hypotenuse AB of the right


angle ABO as shown below
Use Pythagora's theorem to find AB as follows

AB2 = 32 + 32 = 18

D = AB = 32 km

6. A person travels a distance of 1,5 m towards east, then 2.0 m towards south and finally 4.5 m
towards east , find
i) The total distance travelled
ii) The total displacement

Ans:

i) Total distance travelled = 1.5+2.0+4.5=8.0m


ii) His resultant displacement can be explained by drawing a map
Let 1 cm represent 1m
Then man travels 1.5 cm from A to B toward east, then 2.0cm from B to C towards south
and finally C to D 4.5 cm towards east.Resultant displacement can be found by joining the
starting point A with the finishing Point D. Thenthe line AD represents the final resultant
displacement of the man. On measuring, we find
AD = 6.3 cm
Since 1 cm = 1metre
6.3 cm = 6.3metre
Thus, the resultant displacement of the man is 6.3 metres

Or the displacement can be calculated following method.

By drawing this out, you can see that the displacement is the hypotenuse of a right triangle with legs 1.5 + 4.5 = 6.0 m (by adding up the distances in the east direction) and 2.0 m.

6^2 + 2^2 = 36+4 = 40 = 6.3 cm

7. A person moves on a semi circular track of radius 42 m during a morning walk. He starts at one end of the
track and reaches the other end. Find the distance covered and the displacement of the person.
Ans:
1. Distance = 2* PI*r = 2* (22/7)* 42 = 264 m
Since it is a semi circle the total distance travelled is equal to of the circumference.
So distance = 264/2 = 132 m
2. Displacement = 42*2 = 84 m
8. A body travels a distance of 8 m from A to then, moves a distance of 6 m at right angle to AB. What is the
total distance travelled?. Find the magnitude of resultant displacement.
c

6m

A
8m

i) Total distance travelled = 8 +6 = 14 M


ii) Magnitude of displacement AC = AB^2 +BC^2
= 8^2 +6^2
= 64+36 = 100 = 10 m.

9. tA body moves towards ease, by a distance of 3 km and turns towards north and move distance of 4 km.
What is the magnitude of displacement of the body?.
C
N
4

A B
3

Magnitude of displacement = AC=AB^2+BC^2


=3^2+4^2 = 9+16 =25 = 5 km

10. Measure the time it takes you to walk from your house to your bus stop or the school. If you consider that
your average walking speed is 4 km h-1, estimate the distance of the bus stop or school from your house.

Ans:
The distance between my house and school = 5 KM
Average walking speed = 4 KM/h

V = s/t V= speed, t= time & s= distance


4 = 5/t
T= 5/4 = 1.25 hrs

Time taken = 1.25 hrs.