Difference Between Speed And Velocity

Difference between speed and velocity is one of the most interesting topics in Physics. The difference between speed and velocity is also a very common question asked in board exams and competitive entrance exams like JEE and NEET. We use the terms speed and velocity in everyday usage, but it does not mean much difference to us. But when it comes to mathematics and physics, the two terms are completely different from each other. The difference between speed and velocity in tabular form is provided here so that students can understand the concepts of speed and velocity in a better way.

Before learning the difference between speed and velocity, students must understand the concepts and properties of speed and velocity properly. The difference between speed and velocity with examples is given in the table below.

Difference Between Speed And Velocity

Sl. No.

Differentiating Property

Velocity

Speed

1

Definition

  • Velocity can be defined as the rate at which an object changes position in a certain direction.
  • The rate at which an object covers a certain distance is known as speed.

2

Type of quantity

  • Vector quantity
  • Scalar quantity

3

Magnitude

  • Velocity can be zero, negative, or positive.
  • Speed can never be negative or zero.

4

Change of direction

  • The velocity of the object changes with the change in direction, therefore the object must follow one direction.
  • The average speed will continue to count even if the object change direction.

5

Change with time

  • Velocity can decrease with time. For a moving object, it can be 0.
  • Speed never decreases with time. For a moving object, it is never 0.

6

Interrelation

  • An object may possess different velocities but the same speed.
  • Speed may or may not be equal to velocity.

7

Unit (SI)

  • Velocity is measured in m/s
  • Speed is measured in m/s

8

Equation

  • = ∆x/∆t; where is the average velocity, ‘∆t’ is the time of arrival and ‘∆x’ is the displacement.
  • v = d/t; where ‘v’ is the average speed, ‘t’ is time taken to travel the distance and ‘d’ is the distance travelled.

9

Example

  • A train going towards south with an average speed of 50 km/h will have a velocity of 50km/h, north. An object going straight in a particular direction is considered to have velocity.
  • A sports bike travelling at 50 m/s would go from 0 m/s to 30 m/s, before reaching 50 m/s and could even reach 70 m/s. However, the average speed will be the speed of the bike.

These are some of the basic difference between speed and velocity. Students should learn the concepts of speed and velocity in a detailed way to score good marks in their exam. To learn more related topics on speed and velocity, check the table mentioned below.

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Practise This Question

A wave yi = 0.3 cos (40t  0.2x) is travelling along a string toward a boundary at x = 0. What are the expressions for the reflected waves if the string has a fixed end and at x = 0. Assume SI units.