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Unit of Speed

Speed is defined as the rate of change of distance with time. It has the dimension of distance by time. Thus, the SI unit of speed is given as the combination of the basic unit of distance and the basic unit of Time. Thus, the SI unit of speed is metre per second. In everyday life, kilometre per hour or in countries like US and UK miles per hour are used as the unit of speed.

SI Unit of Speed

The SI unit of speed can be derived from the formula of velocity. Basically, velocity is the vector equivalent of speed. Mathematically, velocity is given as the ratio of displacement to the time taken.

\(\begin{array}{l}v=\frac{d}{t}\end{array} \)

where,

    d is the displacement measured using the SI unit of distance; that is a metre.
    t is the time interval measured using the SI unit of time; that is seconds.

Here, we can see that length and time are base quantities, thus we can say that speed can be measured with the SI unit of length (metres) over the SI unit of time (seconds). Or in other words, to derive an SI unit of velocity or speed we will simply substitute corresponding units in the formula of velocity.

\(\begin{array}{l}SI\;unit\;of\;Speed=\frac{meter}{second}\end{array} \)

Hence, the SI Unit of speed is metre per second or m/s or m.s-1.
Dimensional Formula is M0.L1.T-1

Other Speed Units

However, to mention a few, there are other units of speed such as kilometres per hour, feet per second, mach, miles per hour, rpm, and knots.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is speed?

Speed is defined as the rate in change of distance with time. It has the dimension of distance by time. Thus, the SI unit of speed is given as the combination of the basic unit of distance and the basic unit of Time.

What is uniform speed?

When an object covers equal distance in equal time intervals it is said to be in uniform speed.

What is instantaneous speed?

When an object is moving with variable speed, then the speed of that object at any instant of time is known as instantaneous speed.

Define average speed?

Average speed is defined as the ratio of total distance travelled by an object to the total time taken by the object.

Define velocity?

Velocity can be defined as the rate of change of the object’s position with respect to a frame of reference and time.
Test your Knowledge on unit of speed

2 Comments

  1. If there is rate of change then it is necessary to mention with time

    • The rate of change can be measured with respect to quantities/variables other than time. For example, the rate at which the area of a circle changes with respect to its radius.

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