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Q:

# What is instantaneous speed?

A:

Instantaneous speed refers to the speed of an object at a specific point in time. Most speeds are average speeds, which is calculated by dividing the distance traveled by the time it took to travel it.

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The instantaneous speed of an object can only be calculated by dividing the distance covered by an object by the time it took during a very small time span. An accurate approximation can be obtained using a gauge or speedometer.

On a typical road trip that is 50 miles long and takes 1 hour to complete, the average speed of the car would be 50 miles per hour. Since speed usually changes at different points in a trip, the instantaneous speed may have been 55 miles per hour at one point and 45 miles per hour at another.

## Related Questions

• A:

Instantaneous speed is an object's rate of motion at a particular time period or moment. Recording the speed of a running cheetah exactly 13 seconds after its sprint began would be an example of instantaneous speed.

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• A:

Speed measures how fast an object is moving, whereas acceleration is how much the speed of an object changes during a specified period of time. If an object is speeding up, it has a positive acceleration, whereas an object slowing down has a negative acceleration.

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It is possible for an object to be accelerating if it has a zero speed or zero velocity. In such a case, the object only has zero speed for an instant.