Velocity

In kinematics, velocity is the rate of change of the position of an object, equivalent to a specification of its speed and direction of motion. Speed describes only how fast an object is moving, whereas velocity gives both how fast and in what direction the object is moving. If a car is said to travel at 60 km/h, its speed has been specified. However, if the car is said to move at 60 km/h to the north, its velocity has now been specified. To have a constant velocity, an object must have a constant speed in a constant direction. Constant direction constrains the object to motion in a straight path (the object's path does not curve). Thus, a constant velocity means motion in a straight line at a constant speed. If there is a change in speed, direction, or both, then the object is said to have a changing velocity and is accelerating. For example, a car moving at a constant 20 kilometres per hour in a circular path has a constant speed, but does not have a constant velocity because its direction is changing. Hence, it is considered to be accelerating.

Velocity is a vector physical quantity; both magnitude and direction are required to define it. The scalar absolute value (magnitude) of velocity is speed, a quantity that is measured in metres per second (m/s or m⋅s−1) when using the SI (metric) system. For example, "5 metres per second" is a scalar and not a vector, whereas "5 metres per second east" is a vector. The rate of change of velocity (in m/s) as a function of time (in s) is acceleration (in m/s2) – how an object's speed and direction of travel change at each point in time.