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# Scalars & Vectors

Scalars are quantities with a magnitude (size) only. Vectors have a magnitude (size) and a direction.

Speed vs Velocity

• Speed is a scalar.

• Speed describes how fast something is travelling but says nothing about direction.
• Velocity is a vector.

• Velocity describes how fast something is going and in what direction.

Distance vs Displacement

• Distance is a scalar.

• Distance describes how far something has travelled.
• Displacement is a vector.

• Displacement describes the distance from one place to another.
• Displacement also describes the direction from the start to the end.
• E.g. If an ant travels 6 metres east then 2 metres west:

• Distance = 8 metres.
• Displacement = 4 metres east.

Mass

• Mass is a scalar.

• Mass describes how much of something there is.
• Mass has no direction.

Acceleration

• Acceleration is a vector

• We must know the magnitude (how quickly something is speeding up) and the direction (in which direction it is speeding up).

Force

• Force is a vector.

• We need to know the magnitude (size) of the force and also the direction it acts.
• Weight is an example of a force and so weight is a vector.