<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Find two different sets of parametric equations to represent the graph of y = x 2 + 2 x .

One possibility is x ( t ) = t , y ( t ) = t 2 + 2 t . Another possibility is x ( t ) = 2 t 3 , y ( t ) = ( 2 t 3 ) 2 + 2 ( 2 t 3 ) = 4 t 2 8 t + 3 .

There are, in fact, an infinite number of possibilities.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Cycloids and other parametric curves

Imagine going on a bicycle ride through the country. The tires stay in contact with the road and rotate in a predictable pattern. Now suppose a very determined ant is tired after a long day and wants to get home. So he hangs onto the side of the tire and gets a free ride. The path that this ant travels down a straight road is called a cycloid    ( [link] ). A cycloid generated by a circle (or bicycle wheel) of radius a is given by the parametric equations

x ( t ) = a ( t sin t ) , y ( t ) = a ( 1 cos t ) .

To see why this is true, consider the path that the center of the wheel takes. The center moves along the x -axis at a constant height equal to the radius of the wheel. If the radius is a , then the coordinates of the center can be given by the equations

x ( t ) = a t , y ( t ) = a

for any value of t . Next, consider the ant, which rotates around the center along a circular path. If the bicycle is moving from left to right then the wheels are rotating in a clockwise direction. A possible parameterization of the circular motion of the ant (relative to the center of the wheel) is given by

x ( t ) = a sin t , y ( t ) = a cos t .

(The negative sign is needed to reverse the orientation of the curve. If the negative sign were not there, we would have to imagine the wheel rotating counterclockwise.) Adding these equations together gives the equations for the cycloid.

x ( t ) = a ( t sin t ) , y ( t ) = a ( 1 cos t ) .
A series of circles with center marked and a point on the circle drawing out a curve as if the circle was rolling along a plane. The shape made seems to be half an ellipse with height the diameter of the original circle and with major axis the circumference of the circle.
A wheel traveling along a road without slipping; the point on the edge of the wheel traces out a cycloid.

Now suppose that the bicycle wheel doesn’t travel along a straight road but instead moves along the inside of a larger wheel, as in [link] . In this graph, the green circle is traveling around the blue circle in a counterclockwise direction. A point on the edge of the green circle traces out the red graph, which is called a hypocycloid .

Two circles are drawn both with center at the origin and with radii 3 and 4, respectively; the circle with radius 3 has an arrow pointing in the counterclockwise direction. There is a third circle drawn with center on the circle with radius 3 and touching the circle with radius 4 at one point. That is, this third circle has radius 1. A point is drawn on this third circle, and if it were to roll along the other two circles, it would draw out a four pointed star with points at (4, 0), (0, 4), (−4, 0), and (0, −4). On the graph there are also written two equations: x(t) = 3 cos(t) + cos(3t) and y(t) = 3 sin(t) – sin(3t).
Graph of the hypocycloid described by the parametric equations shown.

The general parametric equations for a hypocycloid are

x ( t ) = ( a b ) cos t + b cos ( a b b ) t y ( t ) = ( a b ) sin t b sin ( a b b ) t .

These equations are a bit more complicated, but the derivation is somewhat similar to the equations for the cycloid. In this case we assume the radius of the larger circle is a and the radius of the smaller circle is b. Then the center of the wheel travels along a circle of radius a b . This fact explains the first term in each equation above. The period of the second trigonometric function in both x ( t ) and y ( t ) is equal to 2 π b a b .

The ratio a b is related to the number of cusps on the graph (cusps are the corners or pointed ends of the graph), as illustrated in [link] . This ratio can lead to some very interesting graphs, depending on whether or not the ratio is rational. [link] corresponds to a = 4 and b = 1 . The result is a hypocycloid with four cusps. [link] shows some other possibilities. The last two hypocycloids have irrational values for a b . In these cases the hypocycloids have an infinite number of cusps, so they never return to their starting point. These are examples of what are known as space-filling curves .

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
can you provide the details of the parametric equations for the lines that defince doubly-ruled surfeces (huperbolids of one sheet and hyperbolic paraboloid). Can you explain each of the variables in the equations?
Radek Reply
Practice Key Terms 7

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Calculus volume 3. OpenStax CNX. Feb 05, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11966/1.2
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Calculus volume 3' conversation and receive update notifications?