Chapter 1. Curves in R
n
3
1. Denitions and basic properties 3
2. Moving frames. The Frenet frame 5
Chapter 2. Plane curves (local theory) 11
1. Basic denitions 11
2. Tangent an normal in a point of a plane curve 11
3. The length of a plane curve. Natural parametrizations 12
4. The Frenet (SerretFrenet) frame of a plane curve 13
5. The equations of the curvature 15
6. The fundamental theorem of plane curves 16
7. The envelope of a family of plane curves 19
8. The evolute of a plane curve 20
Chapter 3. Space curves 23
1. Basic denitions 23
2. The tangent and the normal 24
3. The length of a arc. Natural parametrization 25
4. The Frenet frame 26
Chapter 4. Plane curves 33
1. The equation of a plane curve 33
2. Asymptotes. The folium of Descartes 34
3. The cycloid. The astroid 36
1
2 CONTENTS
4. The tangent to a plane curve 37
5. Asymptotes in polar coordinates. The hyperbolic spiral. 39
6. The cardioid. The lemniscate of Bernoulli 40
Chapter 5. 43
1. Ruled surfaces 43
2. Surfaces of revolution 51
CHAPTER 1
Curves in R
n
Vom studia prop. de baza al curbelor in R
n
, vom introduce curburile si reperul Frent.
1. Denitions and basic properties
Definition 1.1. Fie I R Un interval . O curba (parametrizata) in R
n
este o aplc.
C
c : I R
n
. Curba c s.n. regulara daca t I c
(t) = 0.
Observations
a) If I is not as open interval by we should explain what it means for c to be C
.
That is there exists an open interval I
1
containing I and a C
curve c
1
: I
1
R
n
such that c
1
[
I
= c
b) The variable t will be called the parameter of the curve
c) The tangent space R
t
0
= T
t
0
R of R at t
0
R has a distinguished basis 1 = (t
0
, 1).
As an alternate notation the basis (t
0
, 1) is denoted by
d
dt
.
d) For a curve c : I R
n
, the vector dc
t
0
(1) T
c(t
0
)
R
n
is well dened and given
by
dc
t
0
(1) = lim
c(t) c(t
0
)
t t
0
= c(t
0
)
Definition 1.2. a) A vector eld along c : I R
n
is a dierentiable mapping
X : I R
n
. The vector X(t) is understand to lie in a copy of R
n
identied
with T
c(t)
R
n
.
b) The tangent vector eld of c : I R
n
is the vector eld along c : I R
n
given by t C
(t).
3
4 1. CURVES IN R
n
Let c : I R
n
be a curve, t
0
I xed and t I and M
0
, M the corresponding points of
the values t
0
, t of the parameter on the curve c.
The line M
0
M will be said to be a secant line through M
0
. What does it happen when
t t
0
, that is M goes to M
0
on the curve c.
The limit position of the secant line is a line through M
0
parallel with c(t
0
) called the
tangent line through M
0
.
At every point of the curve the tangent vector c
(t)
c
(t) is called the unit tangent vector at c corresponding to the value t of the
parameter.
Definition 1.3. Let I
1
, I be intervals and : I
1
I a dieomorphism. We obtain
a new curve c
1
= c : I
1
R
n
. The map is called parameter transformation or a
change of variables relating c to c
1
.
The map is called orientation preserving if
> 0.
Definition 1.4. a) A vector eld along c : I R
n
is a dierentiable mapping
X : I R
n
which assign to every t I a vector X(t) in R
n
with the origin in
c(t) (the vector X(t) is understand to be in the copy of R
n
identied with T
c(t)
R
n
).
b) The tangent vector eld of c : I R
n
is the vector eld along c : I R
n
given by t c(t).
Example. On the set of curve a relation is induces by the parameter transformation.
Show that this relation is an equivalence relation.
Definition 1.5. a) The curve c(t), t I is said to be parametrized by arc length
if [c
(t)[ = 1. Such kind of curve is sometimes called a unit speed curve and the
parametrization, natural parametrization.
b) The 1 form ds = [c
M
0
M =
t
t
0
[c
(t)[dt
The length of c is given by L(c) =
I
[c
(t)[dt.
Proposition 1.1. Every regular curve c : I R
n
can be parametrized by arc length.
That is, given a regular curve c : I R
n
there is a charge of variables : I
1
I such
that [(c )
(s)[ = 1.
Proof. If we have such kind of change of variables we have that
dc
ds
dc
dt
d
ds
= 1
We dene s(t) =
t
t
0
[s
(t)[dt, t
o
I and set s(t) =
1
(t). Since c is regular, exists and
satisfy the desired equation. Clearly c is parametrized by arclength.
Remark 1.2. Practically one cannot nd a arclength parametrization.
2. Moving frames. The Frenet frame
We are study the local dierential geometry of a curve it is useful to consider a frame
in every point, which varies smooth on the curve. Special such frame is the Frenet frame
which allows us to dene some basic objects associated to a curve, the curvatures.
Definition 2.1. Let c : I R
n
be a curve.
a) A moving nframe along c is a collection of n dierentiable mapping e
i
: I
R
n
, i = 1, n such that < e
i
(t), e
j
(t) >=
ij
, for all t I, where
ij
is the
Kronecker symbol. Each e
i
(t) is a vector eld along c, and e
i
(t) is considered as
a vector of T
c(t)
R
n
.
b) A moving nframe is called a Frenet frame, if for all k, 1 k n, the kth
derivative of c
(k)
(t) lies in the span of the vectors e
1
(t)
0
. . . , e
k
(t).
In the next proposition we shall prove the existence and uniqueness of a distinguished
Frenet under suitable conditions.
6 1. CURVES IN R
n
Proposition 2.1. Let c : I R
n
be a curve such that for all t I, the vectors
c
(t), c
(2)
(t), . . . , c
(n1)
(t) are linearly independent. Then there exists a unique Frenet frame
with the following properties:
a) f
n
1 k n 1, the families of vectors c
(i)
(t)
i=1,k
and e
i
(t)
i=1,k
have the
same orientation.
b) The frame e
i
(t)
i=1,n
has a positive orientation.
Proof. see yourself please We shall use the GramSchimidt orthogeneralization
process. c
(t)
c
(t)
.
Suppose that e
1
(t), . . . , e
j1
(t), j < n are dened.
Let
e
j
(t) =
1
k=1
< c
(j)
(t), e
k
(t) > e
k
(t) +c
j
(t)
and e
j
(t) =
e
j
(t)
e
j
(t)
Clearly (e
j
(t)), j < n are well dened and verify the conditions in the
theorem. We dene e
n
(t) such that e
1
(t) . . . , e
n
(t) has positive orientation. The diferen
tiability of e
j
(t) is clear from the denition.
The components (e
i
n
(t)) of e
n
(t) are expressed as minors of rank (n1) in the n(n1)
matrix (e
j
(t)) 1 i n, 1 j n 1, so e
n
(t) is a dierentiable .
Now we are ready to prove the Frenet equations and to introduce the curvatures. These
will be used later for plane and space curves.
Proposition 2.2. Let c : I R
n
be a curve and consider a moving frame (e
i
(t)), i =
1, n on the curve. The derivatives c
(t) and e
i
(t) satisfy the following equations
c
(t) =
n
i=1
i
(t)e
i
(t)
e
i
(t) =
n
j=1
ij
(t)e
j
(t)
2. MOVING FRAMES. THE FRENET FRAME 7
where
ij
(t) =
ji
(t) =< e
i
(t), e
j
(t) >
In the particular case when (e
i
(t)) is the distinguished Frenet frame
1
(t) =
[c
(t)[,
i
(t) > 0 for i > 1 and
ij
(t) = 0 for j > i + 1
Proof. By dierentiating 'e
i
(t), e
j
(t)` =
ij
we obtain the form of
ij
.
The relations
ij
(t) = 0 for j > j + 1 follows from the fact that e
i
(t) is a linear
combination of c
(t), . . . , c
(i)
(t) implies that e
i
(t) is a linear combination of c
(t), . . . , c
i+1
(t)
and hence of e
1
(t), . . . , e
i+1
(t).
Remark 2.3. Denote by = (
ij
(t))
1i,jn
we can express c
(t) = (t)e(t).
is a shew symmetric matrice.
Moreover, the relation
ij
(t) = 0 for j > i + 1 implies that is of the form
=
0
12
0 . . . 0 0
12
0
23
. . . 0 0
0
23
0 . . . 0 0
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
0 0 0 . . . 0
n1,n
0 0 0 . . .
n1,n
0
The matrix is sometimes called the curvature matrix of the curve c. We prove the
form of the curvature matrix for a parametrization of the curve.
What does it happen if we change the variable?
If we consider an isometry of R
n
, how the curvature matrix change?
To be really invariants of the curve the quantities dened have not to change under
such kind of transformations.
Proposition 2.4. a) Let c : I R
n
be a curve and A : R
n
R
n
an isometry
of R
n
which has the orthogonal component is R.
8 1. CURVES IN R
n
Let c = Ac : I R
n
, and let e
i
(t))
i=1,n
a moving frame on c then ( e
i
(t))
i=1,n
=
(Re
i
(t))
i=1,n
is a moving frame on
C and if
ij
(t) and (t) are the curvature
matrixes of associated Frenet frames of c and c then
[c
(t)[ = [c
(t)[ and =
b) Let c : I R
n
and c : J R
n
related by an orientation preserving change of
variables , that is c = c , : J I.
Let (e
i
(t)
i=1,n
be a moving frame on c. Then e
i
(s) = (e
i
)(s) is a moving frame
on
C, and, if [ c
(s)[ = 0 then
ij
(s)
[ c
(s)[
=
ij
((s))
[c
((s))[
Proof.
ij
=< e
i
(t), e
j
(t) >=< Oe
i
(t), Oe
j
(t) >=< e
i
(t), e
j
(t) >=
ij
(t) because A
is an isometry
(2.1)
ij
(s)
[c
(s)[
=
(s),
e
j
(s)
[c
(s)[
i
((s))
(s),
e
j
((s))
[c
((s))[(s)
=
ij
((s))
[c
((s))[
(t)[
The denition is motivated by the second part of the above theorems.
The matrix can be written
= [c
0 k
1
0 . . . 0 0
k
1
0 k
2
. . . 0 0
0 k
2
0 . . . 0 0
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
0 0 0 . . . k
n1
0
i=1
a
ki
e
i
e
k
=
k
i=1
b
ke
c
(e)
where a
kk
> 0, b
kk
= a
1
kk
> 0 for 0 k n 1. There for
[ c[k
i
= 'e
i
, e
i+1
` = b
ii
'c
(i+1)
, e
i+1
` = b
ii
a
i+1,i+1
> 0
We now prove that curvatures determines the curve in the following sense.
Theorem 2.6. Let c, c : I R
n
be two curves satisfying the conditions of existence
of a distinguished Frenet frame . Denote these Frenet frames by (e
i
(t)) and ( e
i
(t)) resp,
i = 1, n. If k
i
(t) =
k
i
(t), i = 1, n 1 and c
(t)[ = [ c
ij
(t) e
j
(t)
10 1. CURVES IN R
n
On the other hand
Re
i
(t) =
ij
(t)Re
j
(t)
e
i
(t) and Re
i
(t) satisfy the some system of linear dierential equation and e
i
(t) = Oe
i
(t)
since they are equal at t = t
0
.
Rc
(t) = [ c
(t)[Re
i
(t) = [ c
(t)[ [ c
1
(t) = c
(t)
It follows that
Ac(t) Ac(t
0
) =
t
t
0
R c
CHAPTER 2
Plane curves (local theory)
In this chapter we study the simplest curves, namely plane ones. We restrict our study
to local theory of plane curves, the next chapter being devoted to some global properties.
1. Basic denitions
Throughout the chapter we consider curves c : I R
2
. We consider the euclidian
space R
2
, with the origin O, basis
i,
j and coordinates x, y.
We denote C = imc = c(t)[t I.
For t I let A(x(t), y(t);
OA = r(t) = x(t)
i +y(t)
j , [r
(t)[ = [
d r
dt
[ = 0.
First we give without details the three representations of a plane curve.
Definition 1.1. a) The parametric representation of the plane curve is x =
x(t); y = y(t), t I, x
(t)
2
+y
(t)
2
> 0t I
b) r(t) = x(t)
i +y(t)
j, t I, [ r
(t
0
)
=
Y y(t)
y
(t
0
)
11
12 2. PLANE CURVES (LOCAL THEORY)
For a curve given in the vector representation is
r = r(t
0
) + r
(t
0
), R
For a curve given in the implicit form, the tangent through a point (x
0
, y
0
) is
(x x
0
)F
x
(x
0
, y
0
) + (y y
0
)F
y
(x
0
, y
0
) = 0
Definition 2.2. Let c : I R
2
be a curve t
0
I, and P the corresponding point on
the curve, namely P(x(t
0
), y(t
0
)).
The normal line through P is the orthogonal line to the tangent line in P.
The equations of the normal line are
x x(t
0
)y
(t
0
) + (y y(t
0
))y
(t
0
) = 0
for the curve given in explicit form and
(x x
0
)F
y
(x
0
, y
0
) (y y
0
)F
y
(x
0
, y
0
) = 0
for the curve given by implicit equation.
The vectors
T = r
(t
0
) = x
(t
0
)i +y
(t)j and
N = y
(t)i +x
T
T and n =
1

N
x
2
(t) +y
2
(t)dt and the length of the arc of the curve joining A and B is
l(
AB) =
b
a
x
2
(t) +y
2
(t)dt
4. THE FRENET (SERRETFRENET) FRAME OF A PLANE CURVE 13
The natural parametrization of c is c : J R
2
where is the inverse function of
s : I J, s(t) =
t
t
0
x
2
(t) +y
2
(t)dt.
4. The Frenet (SerretFrenet) frame of a plane curve
Let c : I R
2
be a plane curve. The condition c
(t) = [ r
(t)[
t(t)
(t) =
12
(t) n(t)
n
(t) =
12
(t)
t(t)
In the matrix form r
(t) = [ r
(t)[
t(t)
e
(t) =
0
12
(t)
12
(t) 0
e(t) ,
where e(t) =
t(t)
n(t)
(t)[
dt
For a curve with natural parametrization r
(t) = 1, r
(t) = n
(t) and r
(t) =
t
(t) =
12
(t) n(t) = k
i
(t) n(t) so k(t) = r
t(t); v`
sin(t) = ' n(t); v`
Up to a multiple of 2, (t) is the angle between v and
t(t), measured in the positive
direction. In a suciently small neighborhood of t
0
I, (t) may be considered to be
dierentiable. Clearly (t) is a well dened function.
Proposition 4.1. Let (t) locally dened a as above. Then
(t) =
12
(t) = k(t)[c
(t)[
If [c
(t)[ = 1, k(t) =
(t).
Proof. We dierentiate the expression of and use the Frenet equations
sin (t)
(t) =
12
(t)' n(t), v` = sin (t)
12
(t)
cos (t)
(t) =
12
(t)'
(t)[ = 1 k(t) = 0 = r
(t) = 0 = r(t) = (t t
0
) r
(t
0
) + r(t
0
) t
I. The converse is obvious.
Proposition 4.3. (Characterization of the circle) Let c : I R be a plane curve.
The following conditions are equivalent.
a) k(t) = 1/r = const > 0
b) c is a piece of a circular arc, that is, there exists an x
0
R
2
with [c(t)x
0
[ = r > 0
for all t I
Proof. Assume [r
(t)[ = 1
r
(t) =
t(t)
(t) =
r
n(t) = 1
n
(t) =
t(t)
(c(t) +re
2
(t))
= c
(t) e
1
(t) = 0 and c(t) +re
2
(t) = x
0
= c(t) x
0
= re
2
(t) implying
[c(t) x
0
[
2
= r
2
b) = a) By direct computation we obtain
[k(t)[ =
1
r
(t) = [ r
(t)[
t(t)
16 2. PLANE CURVES (LOCAL THEORY)
Dierentiating this equation we have
r
(t) =[ r
(t)[
t(t) +[ r
(t)[
(t) =
= [ r
(t)[
t(t) +[ r
(t)[
12
n(t)
= [ r
(t)[
t(t) +[ r
(t)[k(t)[ r
(t)[ n(t)
It follows that
r
(t) r
(t) =[ r
(t)[
2
k(t) n(t) r
(t) =
= [ r(t)[
3
k(t) n(t)
t(t)
It follows that:
k(t) =
[ r
(t) r
(x)[
[ r
(t)[
3
=
det( r
(t), r
(t))
[ v
(t)[
3
In parametric form the equation of the curvature is
k(t) =
x
(t)y
(t) y
(t)x
(t)
(
x
2
(t) +y
2
(t))
3
If the curve is parametrized by arclength the curvature is
k(s) = x
(s)y
(s) y
(s)x
(s)
6. The fundamental theorem of plane curves
Let c : I R
2
be a plane curve. We can associate to the curve the curvature function.
k : I R k(t) =
x
(t)y
(t) x
(t)y
(t)
(x
2
(t) +y
2
(t))
3/2
This function determine uniquely the curve
Theorem 6.1. Let k : [0, L] R, k k(s) of class C
r
, r 1 there exists a unique
up to a isometry such that s is the arclength and k is the curvature function of the curve.
6. THE FUNDAMENTAL THEOREM OF PLANE CURVES 17
The curvature k(s) can be interpreted as the instantaneous rotation velocity of the
unit tangent vector t(s). The curve is more curved when this velocity is great.
Example: The ellipse
Considering two xed points F and F
in plane, with FF
= 2a
is called an ellipse.
Choosing the coordinate axes such that Ox is FF
a
2
x
2
, x [a, a] the arch of the ellipse above Ox
y =
b
a
a
2
x
2
, x [a, a] the arch of the ellipse below Ox
Very useful in applications are the parametric equations
x(t) = a cos t
y(t) = b sin t
, t [0, 2).
The curvature at an arbitrary point A(x(t), y(t)), t [0, 2), is
k(t) =
x
(t)y
(t) y
(t)x
(t)
(
x
2
(t) +y
2
(t))
3
=
ab
(
a
2
sin
2
t +b
2
cos
2
t)
3
At two of the intersection points with the axes, we have, for t = 0, k(0) =
a
b
2
and for
t =
2
, k(
2
) =
b
a
2
.
The tangent at an arbitrary point has the equation
x a cos t
a sint
=
y b sint
b cos t
or xb cos t +ya sin t ab = 0. (for instance, at t = 0 we get x = a, a vertical tangent).
18 2. PLANE CURVES (LOCAL THEORY)
The equation of the normal at an arbitrary point is
(x a cos t)(a sin t) = (y b sin t)b cos t
or xa sin t +yb cos t (a
2
+b
2
) sin t cos t = 0.
It is interesting that, while the area of an ellipse has a simple expresion (ab), there is
no exact formula for the length of an ellipse in elementary functions. It can be expresed
using innite series expansions.
7. THE ENVELOPE OF A FAMILY OF PLANE CURVES 19
7. The envelope of a family of plane curves
Consider a family of curves (given by the implicit equations) depending on a parameter
:
(C
) F(x, y; ) = 0
Let C
and C
+h
be two curves of the family, close to each other, and M = C
C
+h
their intersection point. Denote by N
).
The coordinates of N
F(x, y; ) = 0
F
(x, y; ) = 0
Eliminating the parameter from the system the equation of the envelope is obtained.
The envelope of the family (C
x
x
() +F
y
y
() +F
= 0. Taking account
that F
= 0 it follows
x
(x(), y(); )
F
y
(x(), y(); )
=
y
()
x
()
The lefthand term is the slope of the tangent at P of C
x
k cos
+
y
k sin
= 1
xsin
k cos
2
y cos
k sin
2
= 0
From here we get x = k cos
3
and y = k sin
3
and by eliminating , x
2/3
+ y
2/3
= k
2/3
,
the equation of an astroid.
Remark 7.1. There exist families of curves that have no envelope (for instance a
family of concentric circles or a family of parallel lines).
Problems
Find the envelope of a family of straight lines that determine on the axes 0x and 0y
segments with the product equal to a constant k. (Answer: 4xy=k).
8. The evolute of a plane curve
Consider a plane curve C and the family of normals to the curve. The envelope of this
family is called the evolute of the curve C.
If the curve is given in parametric form: x = x(t), y = y(t), then the equation of the
normal at an arbitrary point P
t
is
y y(t) =
x
(t)
y
(t)
(x x(t)).
8. THE EVOLUTE OF A PLANE CURVE 21
Using the method described in the previous paragraph, we can determine the parametric
equations of the evolute:
x = x(t)
y
(t)(x
2
(t) +y
2
(t))
x
(t)y
(t) x
(t)y
(t)
y = y(t) +
x
(t)(x
2
(t) +y
2
(t))
x
(t)y
(t) x
(t)y
(t)
These equations have also another meaning: the point N
t
(x, y) (with the coordinates x, y
given by the formulas above) is called the curvature center of the curve C, corresponding
to the point P
t
. The distsnce N
t
P
t
= R(t) =
1
k(t)
is the curvature radius of the curve at
P
t
. The circle with the center at N
t
and of radius R(t) is called the osculating circle of C,
at the point P
t
.
Example
CHAPTER 3
Space curves
1. Basic denitions
In this chapter we continue our study with space curves c : I R
3
. We consider the
euclidian space R
3
with the origin O and the orthonormal basis i, j, k
Definition 1.1. The vectorial equation of the curve c is r : I R
3
r(t) = x(t)
i +
y(t)
j +z(t)
k, t I
(x(t), y(t), z(t)) are the coordinates of the vector Oc(x) in the basis
i,
j,
k that is
Oc(t) = x(t)
i +y(t)
j +z(t)
k
Throughout the chapter we suppose that the map c is dierentiable of a class C
s
(s 0),
that is the functions t x(t), t y(t), t z(t) are dierentiable of class C
s
(s 0)
We shall give now the representations of a space curve: explicit parametric and implicit.
Definition 1.2. Let I R and , : I R be a function of class C
s
(s 1). The
set (x, y, z)[x I y = (x), y = (x) is a curve of class C
s
in R
3
.
This is the explicit form of the curve.
Definition 1.3. Let D R
3
and F, G : D R be functions of class C
s
(s 1 with
rang
x
F
y
F
z
G
x
G
y
G
= 2 on D.
The set (x, y, z) R
3
[F(x, y, z) = 0, G(x, y, z) = 0 is a C
s
curve in R
3
.
The above representations of a space curve are equivalent.
The proof is analytical and will be omitted here.
23
24 3. SPACE CURVES
2. The tangent and the normal
Let r : I R
3
be a C
s
curve
Using the results of the Ch... the equation of the tangent line through P
0
, corresponding
to the value t
0
of the parameter is
x x(t
0
)
x
(t
0
)
=
y y(t
0
)
y
(t
0
)
=
z z(t
0
)
z
(t
0
)
t I
or in the vector form
r(t) = r
(t
0
) + r
(t
0
) I
If the curve C is given explicitly, (x I, y = (x), z = (x)) with , : I R
3
of class
C
s
and we consider a point P
0
(x
0
, y
0
= (x
0
), z
0
= (x
0
)) on the curve the equation of
the tangent line is
x x
0
1
=
y (x
0
)
(x
0
)
=
z (x
0
)
(x
0
)
In the case of a curve which is represented by the implicit equation F, G : D R
3
x
F
y
F
z
G
x
G
y
G
y
F
z
G
y
G
=
y y
0
z
F
x
G
z
G
=
z z
0
x
F
y
G
x
G
(t
0
)` = 0 or
(x x(t
0
))x
(t
0
) + (y y(t
0
))y
(t
0
) + (z z(t
0
))z
(t
0
) = 0
3. THE LENGTH OF A ARC. NATURAL PARAMETRIZATION 25
For the explicit equations we have the equation of the normal plane.
x x
0
+ (y (x
0
))
(x
0
) + (z (x
0
))
(x
0
) = 0
For a curbe given by implicit equations, the equation of the normal plane becomes
(x x
0
)
y
F
z
G
y
G
+ (y y
0
)
z
F
x
G
z
G
+ (z z
0
)
x
F
y
G
x
G
= 0
or
x x
0
y y
0
z z
0
F
x
F
y
F
z
G
x
G
y
G
= 0
the partial derivatives being again calculated in (x
0
, y
0
, z
0
).
3. The length of a arc. Natural parametrization
Let r = r(t), t I be a curve, r(t) being dierentiable of class C
s
(s 1). Let a, b I
and A, B the corresponding points on the curve.
According to the results in chapter .......... the arcform of the curve is given by
ds =
x
2
(t) +y
2
(t) +z
2
(t)dt
and the length of the arc of the curve joining A and B is given by
l(
AB) =
b
a
x
2
(t) +y
2
(t) +z
2
(t)dt =
b
a
[[F
(t)[[dt
we obtain the function s : I [0, L].
s(t) =
t
t
0
x
2
(t) +y
2
(t) +z
2
(t)dt the length function and the natural parametrization
of the curve is
r((s))
where = s
1
. If the curve is given with the natural parametrization the length of the
tangent vector is 1 [r
(s)[ = 1.
26 3. SPACE CURVES
4. The Frenet frame
Let r : I R
3
be a curve. To consider the Frenet frame consider that the vectors
r
(t), r
(t) are linearly independent (sec....). By the study in ch () the distinguished Frenet
frame exists in these conditions.
Remark 4.1. Note the straight lines are excluded from our consideration.
Definition 4.1. Let r : I R
3
be a curve. The curvatures k
1
(t), k
2
(t) dened in
Theorem() will be denoted by k(t) and (t) and called the curvature and the torsion of
c, respectively.
We have the formulas
k(t) =
'e
1
(t), e
2
(t)`
[ r
(t)[
> 0
T(t) =
'e
2
(t), e
3
(t)`
[ r
(t)[
The Frenet equations in matrix form are
e
(t) = [ r
(t)[
0 k(t) 0
k(t) 0 (t)
0 (t) 0
e(t)
Proposition 4.2. Let r : I R
3
be a curve parametrized by arclength. We have
k(t) = [ r
(t)[, (t) =
det(r
(t), r
(t), r
(t))
k
2
(t)
Proof. We have that r
(t) = e
1
(t),
e
2
(t) = r
(t)/[r
(t)[, e
3
(t) = e
1
(t) e
2
(t) =
r
(t) r
(t)
 r
(t)
It follows that k(t) = [ r
(t)[ and r
(t) = k(t) e
2
(t).
The Frenet equations imply
r
(t) =k
(t)e
2
(t) +k(t)e
2
(t)
k
(t)e
2
(t) +k(t)(k(t)e
1
(t) +T(t)e
3
(t))
k
(t)e
2
(t) k
2
(t)e
1
(t) +k(t)T(t)e
3
(t)
4. THE FRENET FRAME 27
and it follows the equation for T(t).
From the th. in the Chapter () K(t) and T(t) are geometric objects, that is are invariant
under isometries and orientation preserving changes of variables.
Proposition 4.3. (The local equivalence problem for space curve) Let k, T : [0, L]
R, k(s) > 0 There exists a unique curve parametrized by arc length dened on [0, L] which
has the curvature and the torsion functions respe. k and r.
Proof. If is exactly the reformulation of the local equivalence of curves in R
n
for
n = 3.
28 3. SPACE CURVES
We have seen that, for curves in R, the Frenet moving frame becomes a moving
triedhron (which denes, at each point of the curve a system of axes of coordinates).
For a curve given in parametric form r = r(t), we construct the Frenet triedhron at
an arbitrary point, according to the proof of Proposition 2.1.
We have e
1
(t) =
t(t) =
r
 r

, the tangent unit vector.
Then, following the GrammSchmidt method, e
2
(t) will have the form:
e
2
(t) = r
' r
, r
`
 r

2
r
=
r
' r
, r
` ' r
, r
` r
 r

2
=
r
( r
)
 r

2
=
( r
) r
 r

2
and
e
2
(t) = n(t) =
( r
) r
( r
) r

called the principal normal vector.
For the third vector of the triedhron, we simply notice that e
3
(t) = r
is orthogonal
to both
t and n, so be take
e
3
(t) =
b(t) =
r
 r

,
called the binormal vector.
The three axes detemine three planes:
(1) the normal plane, determined by the primcipal normal and the binormal, or
thogonal to the tangent. the equation of this plane is,
x
(t)(x x(t)) +y
(t)(y y(t)) +z
(t)(z z(t)) = 0
(for r(t) = x(t)
i +y(t)
j +z(t)
k)
4. THE FRENET FRAME 29
(2) the osculating plane, determined by the tangent and the principal normal,
with the equation
(t) y
(t) z
(t)
x
(t) y
(t) z
(t)
= 0,
or ( r r(t), r
(t), r
(t)) = 0.
(3) the rectifying plane, determined by the tangent and the binormal, with the
equation:
( r r(t), r
(t), r
(t) r
(t)) = 0.
Also, simple formulas for the curvature and the torsion can be deduced.
k(t) =
'e
1
(t), e
2
(t)`
 r
(t)
=
' r
(t), ( r
(t) r
(t)) r
(t)`
 r
(t)
2
( r
(t) r
(t)) r
(t)
 r
(t) r
(t)
2
 r
(t)
2
 r
(t) r
(t)  r
(t)
=
 r
(t) r
(t)
 r
(t)
3
The torsion is:
(4.1) (t) =
( r
(t) r
(t)) r
(t)
 r
(t) r
(t)
2
.
For curves in R
3
, the Frenet equations can be written explicitly:
= k n
n
= k
t +
= n.
Remark 4.4. The torsion represents the rotation velocity of the binormal vector. A
curve has 0 if and only if it is a plane curve.
A special example is the cylindric helix, obtained by the movement of a point P on
the surface of a circular cylinderin such a way that the coordinate z of P is proportional
to the length of the circle arch
AM, M beeing the projection of P on the circle passing
through A.
30 3. SPACE CURVES
The coordinate system is chosen such that Oz is the axis of the cylinder and Ox is the
perpendicular from A on Oz. The curve has the parametric equations:
x = Rcos
y = Rsin
z = h
with the parameter [0, 2], R the radius of the cylinder.
We compute the curvature
k =
 r

 r

3
We have:
r
i
j
k
Rsin Rcos h
Rcos Rsin 0
iRhsin
jRhcos +R
2
k,
 r
 = R
h
2
+R
2
,  r
 =
h
2
+R
2
.
It follows k =
R
R
2
+h
2
.
In the same way, (see formula 4.1) we get the torsion =
h
R
2
+h
2
.
One can notice that the curvature and the torsion do not depend on the parameter . It
can be proved that, conversly, every curve whose curvature and torsion are constant is a
circular helix.
The unit vectors of the Frenet frame are:
the tangent:
t =
r
 r

=
1
R
2
+h
2
Rsin
i +Rcos
j +h
the binormal:
b =
r
 r

=
1
R
2
+h
2
hsin
i hcos
j +R
t = cos
i sin
j.
It is a simple exercise to see that the Frenet equations are satised.
Also, the equations of the planes in the Frenet triedhron are following imediatly:
the normal plane: Rsinx Rcos y hz +h
2
= 0,
the osculating plane: hsinx hcos y +Rz hR = 0,
4. THE FRENET FRAME 31
the rectifying plane: cos x + sin y R = 0.
Computing the inner product between the principal normal n and the unit vector
k we
get ' n,
k` = 0, which means that, for the circular helix, the principal normal at any point
is orthogonal to the axis of the cylinder.
We have '
b,
k` =
R
R
2
+h
2
and '
t,
k` =
h
R
2
+h
2
, which means that the angle between
the binormal and the cylinder axis (or the tnagent and the axis) is constant.
CHAPTER 4
Plane curves
1. The equation of a plane curve
1. The explicit equation of a plane curve is of the form y = y(x), x I, I R.
The reader is assumed to have some knowledge concerning the representation of such a
curve.
2. The implicit equation: F(x, y) = 0
3. The parametric equations of a plane curve are x = x(t), y = y(t), t I, I R.
Usually we shall assume that the functions x(t) and y(t) are continuous and have piecewise
continuous derivatives x(t), y(t) in the interval I.
As is customary in dierential geometry, we shall suppose that the functions x(t), y(t)
also possess continuous derivatives of an order r, higher than one (according as the problem
under investigation may require) without stating explicitly this condition.
4. The vector equation: r = r(t), t I, I R. Here r(t) = x(t)
i +y(t)
j is the socalled
radius vector, or position vector of the point (x(t), y(t)) on the curve.
As t runs through the interval I, the end point of the radius vector describes the given
curve.
5. The equation in polar coordinates. The length = [[ r[[ and the polar angle of the
polar coordinates of P. The connection between polar coordinates (, ) and Cartesian
coordinates (x, y) is given by the formulas
x = cos , y = sin
=
x
2
+y
2
, cos =
x
, sin =
y
a
2
x
2
, x [a, a].
The parametric equations of the circle are x = a cos t, y = a sin t, t [0, 2].
The vector equation is r = a cos t
i +a sin t
j.
The equation in polar coordinates reads = a.
2. Asymptotes. The folium of Descartes
Let us consider the curve (c) : x = x(t), y = y(t). The straight line x = x
0
is a vertical
asymptote of (c) if there exists t
0
R = R such that
(2.1) lim
tt
0
x(t) = x
0
and lim
tt
0
y(t) =
or
(2.2) lim
tt
0
x(t) = x
0
and lim
tt
0
y(t) =
We can characterize similarly the horizontal asymptotes, having equation of the form
y = y
0
.
More generally, the line y = mx +n is an asymptote of the given curve if there exists
t
0
R such that
(2.3) lim
tt
0
x(t) = , m = lim
tt
0
y(t)
x(t)
, n = lim
tt
0
(y(t) mx(t))
or
(2.4) lim
tt
0
x(t) = , m = lim
tt
0
y(t)
x(t)
, n = lim
tt
0
(y(t) mx(t))
2. ASYMPTOTES. THE FOLIUM OF DESCARTES 35
These facts are similar to those (wellknown to the reader) which hold for curves having
explicit equation y = y(x).
Now let us consider the curve
(c) : x
3
+y
3
xy = 0
It is called the folium of Descartes. We easily see that it admits the parametric equations:
(c) : x =
t
1 +t
3
, y =
t
2
1 +t
3
, t = 1.
I) For y = 0 we have t = 0 and hence x = 0. Similarly, x = 0 implies t = 0 and
hence y = 0.
We conclude that the curve intersects the axes Ox and Oy only in the origin.
II) The functions x(t), y(t) have innite onesided limits only at t
0
= 1. In fact,
lim
t1
x(t) = +, lim
t1
y(t) = ; lim
t1
x(t) = , lim
t1
x(t) = + Hence the
curve has neither vertical, nor horizontal asymptotes. But we have
m = lim
t1
y(t)
x(t)
= 1, n = lim
t1
(y(t) +x(t)) =
1
3
.
Therefore, the line y = x
1
3
is asymptote of the curve.
III) x
(t) =
1 2t
3
(1 +t
3
)
2
, y
(t) =
2t t
4
(1 +t
3
)
2
,
dy
dx
=
dy
dt
dx
dt
=
2t t
4
1 2t
3
.
The curve is shown on the next page. It is symmetrical about the straight line
y = x. At the point O, it has a node with the xaxis and yaxis as tangents; at
the point A(
1
2
,
1
2
), it has a vertex. The straight line x+y +
1
3
= 0 is its asymptote.
Example. A periodic curve. Consider the curve
(c)
x = 3a cos t 2a cos
3
t
y = 3a sin
2
t
where a > 0 is a given constant.
The functions x(t) and y(t) are periodic with period 2, so it suces to study the
curve for t [, ]. Moreover, x(t) and y(t) are even functions, i.e.,
(x(t), y(t)) = (x(t), y(t)).
36 4. PLANE CURVES
Consequently we shall consider t [0, ].
Since x(t) and y(t) are bounded functions, the curve has no asymptote.
The derivatives are
x
AM.
It follows that OA = at. Then x = OAAM
2
) = ata sint.
y = M
P +PM = a +a sin(t
2
) = a a cos t.
Hence the parametric equations of the cycloid are
x = a(t sin t)
y = a(1 cos t)
t R
The arc
OT of the cycloid corresponds to t [0, 2].
desen
Points like O and T are called cuspidal points of the cycloid.
If a circle C of radius
a
4
rolls along the interior circumference of a xed circle of radius a,
then a given point of C describes a curve called astroid.
desen
4. THE TANGENT TO A PLANE CURVE 37
It can be shown that the parametric equations of the astroid are
x = a cos
3
t
y = a sin
3
t
By eliminating t we obtain the implicit equation of the astroid:
x
2
3
+y
2
3
= a
2
3
4. The tangent to a plane curve
a) Consider the curve (C) : y = y(x). The tangent to this curve at its point P(x
0
, y
0
)
has the equation
(4.1) y y
0
= y
(x
0
)(x x
0
)
We know also that tan = y
(x
0
)
b) Let now (C) : f(x, y) = 0. Suppose that
f
x
and
f
y
are continuous in a neigh
borhood of the point P(x
0
, y
0
) of the curve; moreover, suppose that
f
y
(x
0
, y
0
) =
0.Consider the implicit function y(x) dened by the equation f(x, y) = 0. It
is possible to compute y
x
(x)(x, y) +f
y
(x, y)y
= 0.
We obtain immediately
y
=
f
x
(x)(x, y)
f
y
(x, y)y
or
(4.2) f
x
(x
0
, y
0
) +f
y
(x
0
, y
0
)(y y
0
) = 0
We obtain the same equation if
f
y
(x
0
, y
0
) = 0 but
f
y
(x
0
, y
0
) = 0. Generally
speaking, a point (x
0
, y
0
) on a plane curve f(x, y) = 0 is called a regular (ordinary)
point if at least one of the numbers
f
x
(x
0
, y
0
),
f
y
(x
0
, y
0
)
38 4. PLANE CURVES
is nonzero. Every other point on the curve is said to be singular.Thus, equation
(4.2) is written under the hypothesis that (x
0
, y
0
) is a regular point.
c) Consider (C) : x = x(t), y = y(t). Then
dy
dx
=
dy
dt
dx
dt
=
y
(t)
x
(t)
. The equation of the
tangent at the point (x(t
0
), y(t
0
)) is
y y(t
0
) =
y
(t
0
)
x
(t
0
)
(x x(t
0
)),
or
(4.3)
x x9t
0
)
x
(t
0
)
=
y y(t
0
)
y
(t
0
)
Here we also suppose that (x(t
0
), y(t
0
)) is a regular point, that is, at least one of
the numbers x
(t
0
), y
(t
0
) is nonzero.
d) The line through P, which is perpendicular to the tangent , will be called the
normal at P. If the equation of the tangent is y y
0
= m(x x
0
), then the
equation of the normal will be
(4.4) y y
0
=
1
m
(x x 0).
e) If the curve is dened by (C) : = (), it admits the parametric representation
(C) :
x = () cos
y = () sin
The slope of the tangent is
tan =
dy
dx
=
dy
d
dx
d
=
sin + cos
cos sin
Let us compute the angle V between the position vector
OP and the tangent
to the curve through P. We have V = , hence
tan V =
tan tan
1 + tan tan
=
=
sin + cos
cos sin
sin
cos
1 +
sin + cos
cos sin
sin
cos
5. ASYMPTOTES IN POLAR COORDINATES. THE HYPERBOLIC SPIRAL. 39
Finally we obtain tanV =
.
5. Asymptotes in polar coordinates. The hyperbolic spiral.
Consider the curve (C) : = . Suppose that the straight line l is an asymptote of
this curve.
The position of l is determined by the angle
0
and the distance d = ON. Clearly
(5.1) lim
0
() = +
Using this equality we determine
0
. Then d = lim
0
OM = lim
0
() cos[
2
(
0
)] =
lim
0
() sin(
0
)
Hence
(5.2) d = lim
0
() sin(
0
)
According to these results, we nd an asymptote (if it exists) of a curve as follows:
First we determine its direction dened by the angle
0
(given by (5.1) and then its distance
d from the origin (given by (5.2).
Besides the asymptotes, some plane curves may admit socalled asymptotic points.
An asymptotic point of a plane curve is a point which does not lie on the curve but to
which a point moving along the curve approaches to within an arbitrary small distance.
This occurs in the following example.
The hyperbolic spiral is the curve
(C) : =
k
, k = const. > 0.
Since 0, we must have > 0. Clearly lim
0
() sin = lim
0
k
sin
= k. Thus the
asymptote is a line parallel to, and at a distance k from, the polar axis. Now lim
+
() = 0;
therefore the origin is an asymptotic point of the curve.
Since
() =
k
2
, we have the following table:
The graph is the following:
40 4. PLANE CURVES
6. The cardioid. The lemniscate of Bernoulli
If a circle C of radius b rolls along the exterior circumference of a xed circle of the
same radius b, then a given point of the circle C describes a curve called cardioid.
Let A be the centre of the xed circle and M the given point of C. Initially, M is in
a position O on the xed circle. Let O be the pole and AO the polar semiaxis.
Let us remark that the length of the arc
OT is equal to the length of the arc
TM.
It follows that OM is parallel to AB, hence
OAB =
MBA = . We obtain immediately
OM = AB 2b cos , i.e., = 2b(1 cos ). Denoting 2b = a, we have the equation of the
cardioid:
= a(1 cos )
I) Due to the periodicity of the function cosine, we may consider [, ]. Since
the same function is even, we may restrict to the case [0, ]; indeed, we have
() = () and hence the curve is symmetric with respect to the polar axis.
II)
(0) = 0, () = 2a. The function () has no innite limits, hence there are no
asymptotes.
III)
= a sin
IV) tan V = tan
2
. For = 0 we have V = 0, and for = , V =
2
. This means that
for = 0, the tangent of the curve is the polar axis, while for = the tangent
is perpendicular to the polar axis.
V)
Now let us consider the points A(a, 0), A
MA = a
2
is a curve called the lemniscate of Bernoulli.
We have [(x +a)
2
+y
2
] [(x a)
2
+y
2
] = a
4
. This implies
(x
2
+y
2
)
2
= 2a
2
(x
2
y
2
)
6. THE CARDIOID. THE LEMNISCATE OF BERNOULLI 41
This is the implicit equation of the lemniscate. Set x = cos , y = sin and simplify.
This yields the equation in polar coordinates:
2
= 2a
2
cos 2
or
= a
cos 2
I) We have ( + ) = (), hence it suces to consider [
2
,
2
]. Since cos 2
must be positive, we have 2 [
2
,
2
], hence [
4
,
4
]. Finally, () = ();
this means that the curve is symmetric with respect to the polar axis and we
shall consider [0,
4
].
II) (0) = a
2, (
4
) = 0. There are no asymptotes.
III)
= 2a
sin2
2 cos 2
0 [0,
4
)
IV) tan V =
= cot 2. For =
4
we have V = 0 and for = 0, V =
2
.
V)
CHAPTER 5
1. Ruled surfaces
If a surface can be generated by the movement of a straight line which satises certain
conditions, it is called a ruled surface. The straight lines that generate the surface are
called the rectilinear generators of the surface.
The conditions satised by the generators determine several types of ruled surfaces.
We call cylindrical surface (or cylinder) a ruled surface generated by a straight line
which keeps a xed direction and intersects a xed curvecalled directrix of the cylinder.
It is clear that the rectilinear generators are parallel to one another.
The directrix of a cylinder is not unique. In fact, every curve located on the cylindrical
surface and having the property that each generator intersects it exactly in one point, is
a directrix.
Any plane which is not parallel to the generators intersects the cylinder by a plane
directrix.
Theorem 1.1. A cylindrical surface with the generators parallel to the straight line
P(x, y, z) = 0
Q(x, y, z) = 0
has the equation of the form
(1.1) f(P, Q) = 0
Proof. The straight line that gives the xed direction is given as an intersection of
two planes: P = a
1
x+b
1
y +c
1
z +d
1
= 0 and Q = a
2
x+b
2
y +c
2
z +d
2
= 0. Any generator
43
44 5
d beeing parallel to this line, has the equation of the form
P(x, y, z) =
Q(x, y, z) =
, with ,
real parameters (P = and Q = are planes parallel to P = 0, respective Q = 0).
Let the curve (C) :
F(x, y, z) = 0
G(x, y, z) = 0
be a directrix. The condition that the generator
d intersects the curve (C) is that the system:
P(x, y, z) =
Q(x, y, z) =
F(x, y, z) = 0
G(x, y, z) = 0
is compatible. Eliminating the variables x, y, z between the four equations we get a com
patibility condition of the form f(, ) = 0. Then, substituting and we get the equation
of the cylinder: f(P, Q) = 0.
Example 1. Find the equation of the cylindrical surface with the generators parallel to
the direction v(1, 1, 1) and the directrix (C)
x
2
+ (y 1)
2
= 4
z = 0
(a circle in the plane
x0y).
The equations of the xed direction are
x
1
=
y
1
=
z
1
, or written as intersection of two
planes (P) and (Q):
x z = 0
y +z = 0.
In order that a generator intersects the directrix, the system
x z =
y +z =
x
2
+ (y 1)
2
= 4
z = 0
must have a solution. Eliminating x, y and z we get the compatibility relationship
2
+
1. RULED SURFACES 45
(1)
2
= 4 which gives the equation of the cylinder:(xz)
2
+(y +z 1)
2
= 4, obviously
of type (1.1). Another method to obtain this equation is the following:
Let M(a, b, c) be a point on the directrix, which means that
(1.2) a
2
+ (b 1)
2
= 4; c = 0.
The generator through M has the equations
(1.3)
x a
1
=
y b
1
=
z c
1
Eliminating a, b, c between (1.2) and (1.3) we get
(x z)
2
+ (y +z 1)
2
= 4
The converse of Theorem 1.1 is also true:
Theorem 1.2. An equation of the form f(P, Q) = 0, where P(x, y, z) and Q(x, y, z)
are polynomials of degree one with respect to x, y, z (P = ax + by + cz + d), represents a
cylindrical surface with the generators parallel to
P(x, y, z) = 0
Q(x, y, z) = 0.
Proof. Let and be real parameters such that f(, ) = 0. Then, the straight lines
given by
P =
Q =
are generating the surface and are parallel to the direction
P = 0
Q = 0
,
which means the surface is a cylindrical one.
Remark 1.3. If there are not such real numbers , for which f(, ) = 0, the cylinder
is an imaginary one.
In particular, an equation of the form f(x, y) = 0 represents a cylindrical surface with
the generators parallel to the axis oz.
We present some examples of equations representing cylindrical surfaces.
1) x
2
+y
2
= R
2
has the generators parallel to Oz, and the circle of center O, radius
R in the plane xOy is the directrix.
46 5
2)
x
2
a
2
+
z
2
b
2
= 1 the generators are parallel to Oy, and an ellipse is a directrix.
3)
y
2
a
2
z
2
c
2
= 1 the generators are parallel to Ox, a directrix is a hyperbola
4) y
2
= 2px the generators are parallel to Oz, a directrix is a parabola.
Application. The projection of a curve on a plane. Considering a curve
(C)
F(x, y, z) = 0
G(x, y, z) = 0
and a plane P : Ax + By + Cz + D = 0, we want to determine
the projection of this curve on the plane, by a given direction d.
The projection is obtained by intersecting the plane P with the cylindrical surface that
has the generators parallel with d and the curve (C) as a directrix.
Most frequentely met are the orthogonal projections, when the direction d is the normal
to the plane P:
N(A, B, C).
Example 2. The circle (C)
x
2
+y
2
+z
2
= 1
x y +z = 0
is projected orthogonally on the coordi
nate planes. Find the equations of the three curves that are obtained.
To nd the projection on the plane xOy, we write the equation of the cylinder that
has (C) as a directrix and the generators parallel to Oz. The system
x =
y =
x
2
+y
2
+z
2
= 1
x y +z = 0
gives the compatibility condition
2
+
2
+ ( )
2
= 1, and the
cylindrical surface is x
2
+ y
2
+ (y x)
2
= 1. The projection is the intersection between
this surface and the plane xOy :
2x
2
+ 2y
2
2xy = 1
z = 0.
In the same way, one can obtain the projections on xOz and yOz :
2x
2
+ 2z
2
+ 2xz = 1
y = 0.
respectively
2y
2
+ 2z
2
2yz = 1
x = 0.
1. RULED SURFACES 47
We call conic surface (or cone) a surface generated by a straight line that passes
through a xed point called vertex and intersects a xed curve, called directrix.
As for the cylinder, the directrix of a cone is not unique.
Theorem 1.4. A conic surface with the vertex V (x
0
, y
0
, z
0
) has the equation of the
form
(1.4) f(
x x
0
z z
0
,
y y
0
z z
0
) = 0,
or in a similar form, where the variables x, y, z are permuted.
Proof. Any generator that passes through the point V has the equation
xx
0
l
=
yy
0
m
=
zz
0
n
, with l
2
+ m
2
+ n
2
= 0. Supposing that n = 0, we denote =
l
n
, =
m
n
and the family of generators is given by
x x
0
= (z z
0
)
y y
0
= (z z
0
).
If the directrix is
(C)
F(x, y, z) = 0
G(x, y, z) = 0,
the condition that the generator intersects the directrix is that the
system
x x
0
= (z z
0
)
y y
0
= (z z
0
)
F(x, y, z) = 0
G(x, y, z) = 0
is compatible. Eliminating x, y, z we get a relationship of
the form f(, ) = 0 and then the equation of the cone,
f(
x x
0
z z
0
,
y y
0
z z
0
) = 0.
P = 0
Q = 0
R = 0
has the equation of the form f(
P
R
,
Q
R
) = 0.
Example 3. Find the equation of the conic surface with the vertex V (1, 0, 2) and
(C)
x
2
+y
2
2x 2y + 1 = 0
z = 0
as directrix.
A straight line passing through V has the equation d
x 1 = (z 2)
y = (z 2)
If the line intersects the curve (C)
x
2
+y
2
2x 2y + 1 = 0
z = 0
, then the system con
sisting of the four equations above is compatible.
Because z = 0, we get x = 12 and y = 2. Replacing these in the rst equation of
(C), we have the compatibility condition (12)
2
+(2)
2
2(1 2) 2(2) +1 = 0,
or
2
+
2
+ = 0.
But =
x1
z2
, =
y
z2
, so the cone has the equation:
x 1
z 2
2
+
y
z 2
2
+
y
z 2
= 0, or (x 1)
2
+y
2
+y(z 2) = 0.
The converse of Theorem 1.4 is true.
Theorem 1.6. If P, Q and R are polynomials of degree one with respect to x, y, z such
that the system
P = 0
Q = 0
R = 0
has a unique solution (x
0
, y
0
, z
0
), then an equation of the form
f
P
R
,
Q
R
x
z
,
y
z
, which
means that the vertex is the intersection point of the planes x = 0, y = 0, z = 0, that is
the origin.
Application. The cone of tangents to a sphere. Consider a point V (x
0
, y
0
, z
0
)
and a sphere (S) of equation
(1.5) x
2
+y
2
+z
2
+ 2ax + 2by + 2cz +d = 0.
Which is the geometric locus of the tangents from V to the sphere?
To nd it, we write the equations of a straight line that passes through V , as before:
(1.6) d
,
:
x x
0
= (z z
0
)
y y
0
= (z z
0
).
Then we select from all these lines (depending on the real parameters (, ) those that
intersect the sphere at only one point.
Replacing x and y with their expressions from (1.6), in (1.5), we get a degree two equation,
with the unknown z. The condition to be satised is (, ) = 0. But =
xx
0
zz
0
, =
yy
0
zz
0
,
so we get the equation of a cone:
xx
0
zz
0
,
yy
0
zz
0
Q(x, y, z) = 0
R(x, y, z) = 0
has the equation of the form
f
P,
Q
R
= 0.
Proof. The straight lines that are parallel to the plane P and intersect the line d
0
have the equations
(1.7)
P =
QR = 0,
with and real parameters. To select from these the ones that intersect a directrix given
as
(1.8)
F(x, y, z) = 0
G(x, y, z) = 0
we put the condition that the system (1.7)+(1.8) has a solution. Eliminating the variables
x, y, z between the four equations, we get a relationship f(, ) = 0.
But = P, =
Q
R
so the equation of the conoid is f
P,
Q
R
= 0.
Theorem 1.9. Conversely, any equation of the form f
P,
Q
R
= 0, where
P(x, y, z), Q(x, y, z) and R(x, y, z) are polynomials of degree one in x, y, z; represents a
conoid surface.
Example 4. Write the equation for a conoid surface that has the director plane P : y = 0;
the axis x =
y
1
= z and the curve
x
2
z
2
= 1
x +y +z = 0
as a directrix.
2. SURFACES OF REVOLUTION 51
The parameters and must be such that the system:
y =
x +y (x z) = 0
x
2
z
2
= 1
x +y +z = 0
is com
patible. We eliminate x, y and z : x + z = ; (x z)(x + z) = 1 implies x z =
1
and then, x =
1
2
2
. Substituting now x, y and x z in the second equation; we have
2
1
2
+
= 0, nally
y
2
2
1
2
+
x+y
xz
= 0.
2. Surfaces of revolution
We call surface of revolution a surface generated by the rotation of a plane curve
around a xed straight linecalled the revolution axis.
Each point of the curve describes a circle with the center on the revolution axis, in a
plane that is perpendicular on the axis.
Each plane that contains the axis, intersects the surface by two curves, equal to the given
curve.
Some of the wellknown surfaces, studied before, are in fact surfaces of revolution:
a sphere can be obtained by rotating a circle around a straight line that passes
through its center.
by the rotation of a straight line around another straight line, we obtain: a circular
cylinder if the two lines are parallel and a circular cone if the two lines have a
common point.
Theorem 2.1. A surface of revolution having the straight line d :
xx
0
l
=
yy
0
m
=
zz
0
n
as axis, has the equation of the form
(2.1) f(lx +my +nz, (x x
0
)
2
+ (y y
0
)
2
+ (z z
0
)
2
) = 0.
Proof. we consider the surface generated by circle () that have the centers on the
axis (d), belong to perpendicular planes on (d) and intersect the rotating curve (C).
52 5
The family of circles depending on the parameters and is described by the equations
(2.2) ()
lx +my +nz =
(x x
0
)
2
+ (y y
0
)
2
+ (z z
0
)
2
=
(intersection between a sphere with the center at (x
0
, y
0
, z
0
) and a plane)
If the curve is given by the equations,
(2.3) (C)
F(x, y, z) = 0
G(x, y, z) = 0
the condition that the circle () intersects the curve (C) is that the system (2.2)+(2.3) is
compatible. Eliminating x, y, z we get an equation f(, ) = 0, and replacing , by their
expressions in (2.2); an equation of the form (2.1).
Theorem 2.2. Conversely, every equation of the form (2.1) is a surface of revolution
with the axis d :
xx
0
l
=
yy
0
m
=
zz
0
n
.
Example 5.Find the equation that represents the surface of revolution obtained when the
circle (C)
(y a)
2
+z
2
= R
2
x = 0
, with a > R, moves around the axis Oz (this surface is
called a torus).
The axis Oz has the direction v(0, 0, 1) and the origin O(0, 0, 0) is a point on the axis.
Then a circle in a plane perpendicular to Oz, with the center on Oz has the equations:
z =
x
2
+y
2
+z
2
= .
2. SURFACES OF REVOLUTION 53
In order that this circle intersects the rotating circle (C), the system
z =
x
2
+y
2
+z
2
=
(y a)
2
+z
2
= R
2
x = 0
must have a solution. We eliminate x, y, z : y =
2
(we take only the positive solution y, because for a point on (C), clearly y > 0).
Substituting in the third equation we get (
2
a)
2
+
2
= R
2
, and nally the
equation of the torus:(
x
2
+y
2
a)
2
+z
2
= R
2
.
Example 6.Find the equation for the surface of revolution obtained by rotating the
straight line
x = a
y = 0
around the axis Oz.
In the same way as for the previous example, we get that the system
z =
x
2
+y
2
+z
2
=
x = a
y = 0
must be compatible. Eliminating x, y and z we have a
2
+
2
= ,
and the equation x
2
+y
2
= a
2
which represents, as expected, a cylinder.