Question
Thu August 04, 2011 By:
 

Please explain Displacement with a practical example?

Expert Reply
Fri August 05, 2011

A displacement is the shortest distance from the initial to the final position of a point P. Thus, it is the length of an imaginary straight path, typically distinct from the path actually travelled by P. A displacement vector represents the length and direction of that imaginary straight path.

A position vector expresses the position of a point P in space in terms of a displacement from an arbitrary reference point O (typically the origin of a coordinate system). Namely, it indicates both the distance and direction of an imaginary motion along a straight line from the reference position to the actual position of the point.

A displacement may be also described as a relative position: the final position of a point () relative to its initial position (), and a displacement vector can be mathematically defined as the difference between the final and initial position vectors:

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