AP Physics 1 Question 284: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 284

2. The graph above shows the velocity of an object as a function of time. What is the net displacement of the object over the time shown?

  • A. -23 m
  • B. -9 m
  • C. 9 m
  • D. 23 m

Correct Answer: B



In a velocity-versus-time (also referred to as a v-versus-t) graph, the displacement of an object is the area between the curve and the horizontal axis; area below the t-axis counts as negative. In this case, the area can be broken into multiple rectangles and triangles.

In order of the number labels, each shape has an area of 6, 1, 4, and 12, respectively. The last two, however, are below the t-axis, so their area represents negative displacement. Therefore, the net displacement is 6 m + 1 m - 4 m - 12 m = -9 m. As a check, it looks like most of the area is below the t-axis, so the answer should be negative.