What is the difference between Speed and Velocity? - Future Study Point

What is the difference between Speed and Velocity?

What is the difference between Speed and Velocity?

What is the difference between Speed and Velocity?

What is the difference between Speed and Velocity?

The difference between Speed and Velocity

Title: Understanding the Difference Between Speed and Velocity

In the realm of physics, the concepts of speed and velocity often intertwine, yet they possess distinct characteristics that are essential to grasp. Let’s delve into the nuances of these fundamental concepts and explore their significance in real-world scenarios.

Unveiling the Basics

Speed refers to the rate at which an object covers distance over a specific period. It’s a scalar quantity, solely concerned with the magnitude of motion, disregarding direction. For instance, if you’re driving at 60 miles per hour on a straight road, your speed remains constant as long as you maintain this pace.

Velocity, on the other hand, encompasses both the speed and direction of motion. It’s a vector quantity, indicating not only how fast an object moves but also the path it takes to get there. For instance, if you’re driving at 60 miles per hour eastward, your velocity includes both the speed (60 mph) and the direction (eastward).

Real-Life Scenarios

To elucidate the disparity between speed and velocity, consider a scenario where a car is navigating through a winding road. Despite maintaining a constant speed, the car’s velocity fluctuates as it negotiates curves and turns. Here’s why:

  1. Constant Speed, Changing Direction: As the car maneuvers through bends, its direction shifts while the speed remains unaltered. Consequently, although the speedometer reads the same value, the velocity vector changes to reflect the altered direction of motion.
  2. Impact of Direction Change: When the car turns, its velocity vector pivots accordingly. This alteration in velocity signifies a change in the car’s overall motion, even if the speedometer indicates a consistent speed throughout the journey.

Significance in Navigation and Engineering

Understanding the disparity between speed and velocity is pivotal in various domains, particularly in navigation and engineering:

  • Navigation: Pilots, sailors, and drivers rely on velocity vectors to chart accurate courses, considering both speed and direction to reach their destinations efficiently.
  • Engineering: Engineers designing transportation systems, such as railways and highways, must account for velocity vectors to ensure safe and effective routes, accommodating changes in direction without compromising speed.


In essence, while speed and velocity are intertwined concepts, their distinctions are crucial in comprehending the intricacies of motion. Speed quantifies how rapidly an object travels, while velocity encompasses both speed and direction, encapsulating the essence of motion in its entirety. By discerning these principles, we gain invaluable insights into the dynamics of movement, enabling us to navigate the complexities of our physical world with precision and

Table of the content:

 (i)Definition of speed
(ii)Definition of velocity
(iii)Unit of speed and velocity
(iv)Difference between speed and velocity
(v)Average speed and average velocity
(vi)Question based on speed and velocity

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Definition of speed:

The distance covered by an object in per unit time is known as speed, speed is the measure how hurriedly an object complete its destination,speed is inversaly proporional to the time.The distance covered in least time then the speed is maximum.

Definition of velocity:

The displacement covered by an object in per unit time is known as velocity, velocity is the measure how hurriedly an object complete the displacement,velocity is inversaly proporional to the time.The displacement covered in least time then the velocity is maximum.

S.I Unit of speed and velocity:

The SI unit of speed and velocity is meter per second(i.e m/s).

 Difference between speed and velocity:

Speed is distance per unit timeDisplacement per unit time
The S.I unit of speed is meter/secondThe S.I unit of Velocity is meter/second
The speed is a scaler quantityThe velocity is a vector quantity
Speed =Distance/TimeVelocity =Displacement/Time
Speed is always positive ,it can not be 0 0r negative Velocity can be 0 ,negative or positive

 The situation when speed and velocity are same:

If the direction of a moving object doesn’t change then the value of speed and velocity remains the same. As an example an object has covered a distance of 500 m in 10 seconds,then its velocity and speed is determined as follows.

Since here direction of the moving objects doesn;t change therefore its displacement and distance covered is the same.

Speed or velocity= 500/10 = 50 m/s

Average speed and average velocity:

Average speed = Total distance covered/Total time taken

Average velocity = Total displacement covered/Total time taken

Question based on speed and velocity:

Q1. Suresh moved 4 km towards the east  from his house in 15 minutes and then turned left and travelled 3 km in 10 minutes,find his average velocity and average speed.


What is the difference between Speed and Velocity?

Total distance covered by Suresh =( 4+3) km= 7 km

Total time taken = (15+10) min=25 min

Average speed = Total distance/Total time = 7 km/25 min =0.28 km/min

Total displacement = √(AB² +BC²)=√(4² +3²)= √(25)= 5 km

Total time taken = (15+10) min=25 min

Average velocity= Total displacement/Total time = 5 km/25 min =0.20 km/min

Q2. Ramakant goes to his school from his home with the speed of  6 km/h and returned to his home from his school with the speed of 4 km/h, find his average speed in this journey.

Solution: Let the distance of Ramakant’s school from his home is = x km

Total distance covered by him = x + x = 2x

Time taken by him from home to school = (x/6)h

Time taken by him from school to home = (x/4)h

Total time taken in this journey = (x/6+x/4)h =[(2x+3x)/12] h= (5x/12)h

Average speed =Total distance covered/Total time taken = 2x ÷ 5x/12 = 4.8 km/h

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