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A car is driven from point A to B at a constant speed of 25.0 m/s along a straight line, and then back from point B to A at a constant speed of 20.0 m/s. The values of the average speed over the entire trip is?

  • Physics -

    Let the distance from A to B (in meters) be L.

    The total distance travelled is then 2L

    The times spend going back and forth are L/20 and L/25 s.

    Divide 2L by [L/20 + L/25] for the average speed. Note that the L cancels out.

    Vav = 2/[1/20 + 1/25]
    = 2/(9/100) = ___ m/s

    Note that the average speed Vav is NOT the average of the two speeds.

    Instead, 1/Vav = (1/2)[1/V1 + 1/V2]

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