Units of Displacement

Last Updated: April 25, 2024

Units of Displacement

Displacement, a vector quantity that refers to the change in position of an object, is a fundamental concept in physics, particularly in the study of motion. Understanding the units used to measure displacement is essential for precisely describing and analyzing motion.

What are Units of Displacement?

Units of displacement are crucial for accurately measuring and describing the change in position of an object. Understanding these units enhances our ability to document and analyze motion across various scientific and engineering disciplines.

SI Unit of Displacement

meter (m)

The meter (m) is the standard International System of Units (SI) unit for measuring displacement. It effectively quantifies the straight-line distance from an object’s starting point to its final position. Widely adopted across scientific disciplines, the meter is essential for accurately documenting and analyzing linear motion in physics, engineering, and everyday applications.

CGS Unit of Displacement

centimeter (cm)

In the Centimeter GramSecond(CGS) system, the centimeter (cm) serves as the primary unit of displacement. This unit measures the distance an object travels, effectively capturing both minor and significant movements within smaller scales of observation.

Formula of Displacement

The formula for displacement is given by:

Displacement = Final Position−Initial Position

This equation calculates the straight-line distance from the starting point to the ending point of an object’s path.

List of Displacement Units


Here’s the detailed format for different units of displacement, similar to the format used for units of energy:

Meter (m)


The meter is the SI unit of displacement and measures the distance traveled by an object in space. It is widely used globally in science, engineering, and daily life to quantify linear travel.

Centimeter (cm)

1 cm = 0.01 m

A centimeter is a common unit of displacement for smaller distances, especially used in fields that require precise spatial measurements, such as architecture and engineering.

Kilometer (km)

1 km = 1000 m

Kilometers measure longer distances and are commonly used to express geographical distances between locations or in tracking athletic performances in long-distance events.

Inch (in)

1 in = 0.0254 m

The inch is a unit of displacement commonly used in the United States for various applications, including manufacturing and construction.

Foot (ft)

1 ft = 0.3048 m

A foot is an imperial unit used primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom for a variety of everyday measurements, including height and short travel distances.

Yard (yd)

1 yd = 3 ft = 0.9144 m

Yards are used in several contexts, such as in golf for measuring distances to the green and in fabric stores for selling cloth by length.

Mile (mi)

1 mi = 5280 ft = 1609.34 m

Miles are used primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom to measure long distances, such as in road signage and car odometer readings.

Conversion of Displacement Units

Conversion of Displacement Units
Displacement UnitMeter (m)Centimeter (cm)Inch (in)Foot (ft)
Meter (m)010039.37013.28084
Centimeter (cm)0.0100.3937010.0328084
Inch (in)0.02542.5400.0833333
Foot (ft)0.304830.48120

Meter to Centimeter

  • Conversion: 1 meter = 100 centimeters.
  • Example: To convert 5 meters to centimeters:
  • 5 m × 100 = 500 cm

Meter to Foot

  • Conversion: 1 meter = 3.28084 feet.
  • Example: To convert 3 meters to feet:
  • 3 m × 3.28084 = 9.84252 ft

Meter to Inch

  • Conversion: 1 meter = 39.3701 inches.
  • Example: To convert 2 meters to inches:
  • 2 m × 39.3701 = 78.7402 in

Centimeter to Meter

  • Conversion: 1 centimeter = 0.01 meters.
  • Example: To convert 250 centimeters to meters:
  • 250 cm × 0.01 = 2.5 m

Centimeter to Foot

  • Conversion: 1 centimeter = 0.0328084 feet.
  • Example: To convert 100 centimeters to feet:
  • 100 cm × 0.0328084 = 3.28084 ft

Centimeter to Inch

  • Conversion: 1 centimeter = 0.393701 inches.
  • Example: To convert 150 centimeters to inches:
  • 150 cm × 0.393701 = 59.05515 in

Foot to Meter

  • Conversion: 1 foot = 0.3048 meters.
  • Example: To convert 10 feet to meters:
  • 10 ft × 0.3048 = 3.048 m

Foot to Centimeter

  • Conversion: 1 foot = 30.48 centimeters.
  • Example: To convert 6 feet to centimeters:
  • 6 ft × 30.48 = 182.88 cm

Foot to Inch

  • Conversion: 1 foot = 12 inches.
  • Example: To convert 4 feet to inches:
  • 4 ft × 12 = 48 in

Inch to Meter

  • Conversion: 1 inch = 0.0254 meters.
  • Example: To convert 20 inches to meters:
  • 20 in × 0.0254 = 0.508 m

Inch to Centimeter

  • Conversion: 1 inch = 2.54 centimeters.
  • Example: To convert 50 inches to centimeters:
  • 50 in × 2.54 = 127 cm

Inch to Foot

  • Conversion: 1 inch = 0.0833333 feet.
  • Example: To convert 36 inches to feet:
  • 36 in × 0.0833333 = 3 feet


What is the SI unit of displacement current?

The SI unit of displacement current is the ampere (A), just like the unit for conventional electric current.

Is displacement always zero?

Displacement is not always zero; it depends on the initial and final positions.

Can displacement be negative?

Yes, displacement can be negative, indicating the final position is in the opposite direction to the defined positive direction.

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