PHYS 9:12

PHYS 9:12 - Basically, in calculus terms, it is the rate of...

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34BB4D A vector has both direction and magnitude. It is a measuring tool that is useful for figuring out where exactly something is. If a person walks 13 feet north and then 6 feet south, it is easy to express his displacement of 7 feet by using vectors. A unit vector is a simplified vector that has a magnitude of 1 (whereas regular vectors can have a magnitude of any number) and is used to describe direction in space. A vector is denoted by placing a small arrow above a letter. Average velocity and displacement are both examples of vectors. Speed refers to how fast an object is moving. If we look at a graph of a particle moving over time, the slope of the lines will tell us how fast it is moving. The less steep the curve, the lower the speed - which is intuitive because a slow moving object cannot cover as much ground in a given block of time. Velocity is a vector that illustrates both speed and direction. Part of direction's relationship with speed is that speed has no direction while velocity does. It is calculated by dividing displacement by time (for the average).
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Unformatted text preview: Basically, in calculus terms, it is the rate of change of position. Distance is always positive since it is determined by the absolute value of the difference between two points. Displacement is not always. If I walk 3 feet forward and 8 feet backwards, my displacement is -5 but the distance i traveled is 11. Instantaneous velocity was the concept I found most confusing. I completely understand average velocity as measuring the different speeds a ball is traveling at different time intervals. When the time interval approaches zero, you basically have a value in the denominator that is not allowable. Using manipulations with limits and derivatives makes this possible, but I still sense that in the future I may struggle with this concept. I was able to work through the problems here, but I think that is because the calculations were still very basic steps with vectors. It took me 1 hour and the questions took me another hour...
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This note was uploaded on 01/14/2012 for the course PPE 253 taught by Professor Mellers during the Fall '11 term at UPenn.

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