Explain the difference between speed and velocity with an example.

Expert Answers
justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Speed is the distance traveled in unit time while velocity is the rate of change in your position or the displacement in unit time. The difference between the two can be understood if the difference between distance and displacement is clear.

Distance is a scalar quantity while displacement is a vector. Distance is essentially the length that you have traveled while displacement is the change in your position.

To make things clearer consider this example. You go from your home to your school which is 5 kilometers away from home and come back; it takes you an hour to do that. The distance you have traveled is 10 kilometers but your displacement is 0 as there is no net change in position. As a result your velocity is 0, while your speed is 10/1 = 10 kilometers per hour.

missyanyan | Student

Speed is the rate at which distance is covered. In a car, speed is measured continously by the speedometer in kilometres per hour (km/h). This is instantaneous speed or its speed at any moment in its travels. Where as Velocity is speed in a given direction. Wind movement is an example of velocity.

hardworker47 | Student

Speed is how fast a distance is covered (gravity included).  Velocity is without acceleration due to gravity.  For example, if you were in a plane hurtling to Earth, with gravity you would hit the Earth a lot faster than without.  Velocity is the speed you would hit without gravity(around 100-200 kph).  With gravity you would go probably 400-500 kph.