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# 1

## Angles and distances in space

1.1

Angles:

1. the angle between two lines (d1 ) and (d2 ) is the angle between their
directing vectors v1 and v2 ; and its cosine can be obtained by means of
the dot product v1 v2 :
cos

v1 v2
:
kv1 k kv2 k

2. the angle between a line and a plane is equal to 90o minus the angle
between the directing vector v of the line and the normal vector N of the
plane:
v N
cos(90o
) = sin =
:
kvk N
3. the angle between two planes is the same as the angle between their
normal vectors N1 and N2 :
cos

1.2

N1 N2
:
N1
N2

Distances in space

1. the distance between two points A and B is, by denition, the norm
!
of the vector AB; that is:
p
!
dist(A; B) = AB = (xB xA )2 + (yB yA )2 + (zB zA )2 :

x x1
2. the distance between a point M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) and a line (d) :
=
l
y y1
z z1
=
is expressed as the altitude in the parallelogram built on
m
n
the vectors M M 1 and v(l; m; n) (where M1 (x1 ; y1 ; z1 ) denotes a point on
the line):
MM1 v
:
dist(M; d) =
kvk

distance point-line
1

## 3. the distance between a point M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) and a plane ( ) : Ax +

By + Cz + D = 0 is given by
dist(M; ( )) =

p
:
A2 + B 2 = C 2

## 4. the minimum distance between two skew (=non-coplanar) lines

in space is expressed as the altitude from M1 in the parallelepiped built
on the vectors M1 M 2 ; v1 and v2 ; where Mi and vi denote a point and the
directing vector of the straight line (di ); i = 1; 2 :
(M1 M 2 ; v1 ; v2 )
:
kv1 v2 k

dist((d1 ); (d2 )) =

## Exercise 1 Let A(2; 1; 3); B(1; 2; 3); (d) :

0: Find:

x
y
z
= =
and ( ) : 4x + 3z
1
2
2

1=

## 1. the distances dist(A; B); dist(A; (d)); dist(A; ( ));

2. the angle between the line AB and, (d), respectively, ( ):
3. the angle between (d) and ( );
4. the minimum distance between the lines AB and (d):
5. the intersection point between (d) and ( ):
Exercise 2 Write the equation of a plane:
1. through the point O(0; 0; 0) and which is perpendicular to both (
y + z = 3 and ( 2 ) : 3x z = 2;
2

1)

: x+

## 2. through the point O(0; 0; 0) and which is perpendicular to (

y
z+2
x 1
3 and parallel to the line (d) :
= =
:
2
3
4
3. which is perpendicular to (
x 1
y
z+2
(d) :
= =
:
2
3
4

1)

1)

: x+y +z =

and

x
1

z
is
1

## contained in the plane x + y + z = 3:

x
y
z
= = : Find the projection of M onto
1
1
1
(d) and the reection of M in the line (d):

## Exercise 4 Let M (2; 3; 5) and (d) :

x
y
z
=
=
1
1
1
(Hint: nd the reections of two conveniently chosen points on Ox in the line
(d)).

## Exercise 5 Find the reection of the Ox axis in the line (d) :

Exercise 6 (*) Find the straight line which is perpendicular to both the lines Oz
x 2
y+1
z
and (d) :
=
=
and intersects them (the common perpendicular
1
3
4
of the lines Oz and (d)).

Let (V; +;

K)

## be a vector space and U

V a set of vectors.

## Denition 1 A set U of vectors in V is called:

linearly dependent if one of the vectors of U can be written as a nite
linear combination of other vectors of U ; for instance
un+1 =

1 u1

+ :::: +

n un ;

2 K; ui 2 U ;

## linearly independent if none of the vectors of U can be written as a

linear combination of other vectors in U:
For instance, the vectors u = (1; 0); v2 = (0; 1); w = (1; 2) in R2 are linearly
dependent, because w is a linear combination of u and v:
w = u + 2v
Still, in practice it would be hard to guess whether and which of the vectors
of a set U could be written as a linear combination of the others. This is why
it is more comfortable to use the following criterion:
Criterion 2 The vectors u1 ; u2 ; :::un 2 V are linearly independent if and only
if the equation
1 u1 + 2 u2 + :::: + n un = 0;
(with the unknowns
n = 0:

1 ; ::;

## Remark 3 An innite set U

U is linearly independent.

= ::: =

## Comments of linear dependence/independence: In the above example, the

vector w = (1; 2) is a linear combination of u and v; this is, it can be "decomposed" in terms of u and v: While, u and v are linearly independent, this is,
none of them can be expressed (or "decomposed") in terms of the other. Let us
imagine a map in which u gives the direction to the North and v; to the East.
Then, if we say to someone, "go 3 kilometers to the North and 3 kilometers to
the East", this is, perform a displacement by x = 3u + 3v; we could also say
instead: "go 2u+v +w". But the latter description is somehow "not necessary",
actually, if we ignore altitude, linear combinations of the linearly independent
vectors u and v are enough to describe any displacement in the plane. This is,
the vector w is redundant.

## Exercise 4 Which of the following systems of vectors in R2 are linearly independent:

1. u = (1; 2);
2. u = (1; 2); v = (3; 1);
3. u = (1; 2); v = (3; 1); w = (4; 1)?
Exercise 5 Prove that, in a vector space (V; +;
a system consisting of one vector fvg
v 6= 0;

K)

V is linearly independent ()

## two vectors u; v 2 V are linearly dependent if and only if one of them is a

multiple of the other, this is, there exists an 2 K such that v = u:

## Basis and dimension of a vector space

Let (V; +;

K)

be a vector space.

Denition 6 A subset B =
6 ? of V is called a basis of V if:
1. B is linearly independent;
2. B spans the entire space V : any v 2 V can be written as a nite linear
combination of elements of B :
v=
where e1 ; :::; en 2 B;

1 ; :::;

1 e1

+ ::: +

n en ;

2 K:

## Example (the standard basis in Rn ): Let, in Rn ; B = fe1 ; :::; en g; where:

8
e1 = (1; 0; 0; :::; 0)
>
>
<
e2 = (0; 1; 0; :::; 0)
:
:::
>
>
:
en = (0; 0; 0; :::; 1)

## Then, B is a basis of Rn ; called the standard or the canonical basis.

Let us check that B is indeed a basis:
linear independence: the equality
1 (1; 0; :::; 0)

which is, (

1 ; ::::;

n)

1 e1

+ :::: +

## = (0; 0; ::::; 0):

2

+ :::: +

n en

n (0; 0; ::::; 1)

= 0 means:
= 0;

## the "spanning property": Let v = (v1 ; v2 ; :::; vn ) 2 Rn be arbitrary. Then,

the equation
v = 1 e1 + ::: + n en
has the solution 1 = v1 ; :::; n = vn ; this is, v can indeed be written as a
linear combination of e1 ; ::::; en 2 B:
Properties:
1. Any non-zero vector space admits at least a basis. From now on, when
referring to vector spaces, we shall only mean non-zero ones.
2. Any linearly independent system of vectors can be completed up to a
basis( , can be included in a basis).
3. From any spanning set (system of generators) of a vector space, one can
extract a basis.
This is, we can summarize the situation in the following way:
linearly independent set

basis

spanning set.

(1)

## A vector space which admits a basis B consisting of a nite number of vectors

is called a nite-dimensional vector space.
For nite-dimensional vector spaces, there exists a "shortcut" for proving
that a certain set is a basis. Namely, it relies on the notion of dimension of a
vector space.
Theorem 7 If V is a nite-dimensional vector space, then any two bases of V
have the same number of vectors. This number is called the dimension of the
vector space V :
n = dim V:
Example: The dimension of Rn is n (since the standard basis has n vectors).
From (1) we can now infer:
Theorem 8 If V is a vector space of dimension n; then any set consisting of
precisely n linearly independent vectors of V is a basis of V:
Example: In R2 ; the vectors u = (1; 2) and v = (2; 1) are linearly independent (prove it!); since the dimension of R2 is 2, we get that fu; vg is a basis of
R2 :

Exercise 9 Prove that the vectors u = (1; 0; 0); v = (1; 2; 0) and w = (1; 2; 3)
yield a basis of R3 : (Indication: prove that they are linearly independent+the
number of vectors equals the dimension of the space).
The most important property of a basis is the following:
Theorem 10 Let (V; +; K ) be a nite-dimensional vector space and B = fe1 ; e2 ; :::; en g
a basis of V: Then any vector x 2 V admits a unique representation:
x = x1 e1 + x2 e2 + ::: + xn en ;

(2)

with x1 ; :::; xn 2 K (scalars). The scalars x1 ; :::; xn are called the coordinates
of x with respect to the basis B (in the basis B).
Proof. Let x 2 V be arbitrary. The "spanning property" in the denition
of a basis insures the existence of the scalars x1 ; :::; xn 2 K such that x =
x1 e1 + x2 e2 + ::: + xn en :
Let us prove the uniqueness of this representation: let x01 ; ::::; x0n 2 K be
another set of scalars with x = x01 e1 + x02 e2 + ::: + x0n en :
By subtracting the above equalities, we are led to:
0 = (x1

x0n )en :

## Since e1 ; :::; en are linearly independent, we get x1

q.e.d.

x01 = ::: = xn

x0n = 0;

Once the basis B is xed, the column matrix having as entries the coordinates
of some vector x 2 V in the basis B;
0
1
x1
B x2 C
B
C
X=B . C
@ .. A
xn

## Example: If B = fe1 ; :::; en g is the standard basis of Rn ; we have shown

above that for any x = (x1 ; x2 ; :::; xn ); we have x = x1 e1 + :::: + xn en ; which
means that, with respect to the standard basis, the coordinates of a vector x 2 Rn
coincide with its components. The coordinate vector X is, in this case, precisely
the transpose matrix xt :
For instance, the vector v = (1; 3) 2 R2 has, with respect to the standard
basis, the coordinates
1
X=
:
3

Changes of bases

Let (V; +;

K)

## be a nite-dimensional vector space and

B 0 = fe01 ; :::; e0n g

B = fe1 ; ::::; en g;

## two bases of V . Then, any vector x 2 V admits a unique decomposition

x = x1 e1 + :::: + xn en
with respect to B; and a unique decomposition
x = x01 e01 + :::: + x0n e0n
with respect to B 0 :
The problem which arises is obviously the following: which is the relation
between the two sets of coordinates of x; namely, between
0
1
0 0 1
x1
x1
B x2 C
B x02 C
B
C
B
C
X = B . C and X 0 = B . C?
@ .. A
@ .. A
x0n

xn

In order to answer this question, let us decompose, one by one, the vectors
of the "new" basis B 0 in terms of the basis B: We get:
e01
e02
e0n

## = s11 e1 + s21 e2 + ::: + sn1 en

= s12 e1 + s22 e2 + ::: + sn2 en
:::
= s1n e1 + s2n e2 + ::: + snn en ;

## with sij 2 K; i; j = 1; :::; n:

The matrix S = (sij )i;j=1;n ; having as columns the coordinate vectors of
e01 ; :::; e0n respectively, in the basis B; is called the matrix of change of bases
from B to B 0 : We denote
S
B ! B0 :
Then, we get
x=

n
X

x0j e0j =

j=1

xi =

n
P

j=1

n
X
j=1

n
P

x0j

n
X

sij ei

i=1

n
X
i=1

0
@

n
X
j=1

sij x0j A ei :

i=1

## Proposition 11 If S is the matrix of change of bases from B to B 0 ; then the

corresponding sets of coordinates of a vector x 2 V are related as follows:
X = SX 0 :
The matrix of change S is always invertible, hence we can write also
X0 = S

X:

Exercise 12 Let B1 = fe1 = (1; 1; 1); e2 = (1; 1; 0); e3 = (1; 2; 3)g and B2 =
fe01 = (0; 1; 1); e02 = (1; 0; 0); e03 = (3; 2; 1)g
1. Show that B1 and B2 are bases of R3 :
2. Find the expression of the vector x = (2; 2; 1) in the bases B1 and B2 :
S

3. Find the matrix of change B1 ! B2 and check, for the vector x above, the
relation X = SX 0 :
4. Find the matrices of change from the standard basis B to B1 and B2 : What
do you notice? Why?

K)

## Denition 13 A function T : V ! W is called a linear transformation (or

a morphism of vector spaces) if:
1. for any x; y 2 V : T (x + y) = T (x) + T (y);
2. for any

## The above denition is equivalent to:

T ( x + y) = T (x) + T (y); 8 ;

2 K; 8x; y 2 V:

(3)

## An isomorphism of vector spaces is a one-to-one (=bijective) linear

transformation.
Examples of linear transformations:
1. f : R ! R; f (x) = ax; where a 2 R is a xed real number; if a 6= 0; then
f is an isomorphism.

## 2. T : Rm ! Rn ; T (x) = A X; where A 2 Mm n (R) is a xed matrix and,

for x = (x1 ; x2 ; :::xm ) 2 Rm ; we denoted by X = xt the transpose matrix
of x:
Exercise 14 Prove that the above transformations are linear.
Exercise 15 Check which of the following transformations are linear:
a) T : R2 ! R3 ; T (x1 ; x2 ) = (x1 + x2 ; x1 3x2 ; 2x1 );
b) T : R2 ! R3 ; T (x1 ; x2 ) = (x1 + x2 ; x1 3x2 ; 2x1 + 1);
c) T : R2 ! R3 ; T (x1 ; x2 ) = (x1 x2 ; x1 3x2 ; 2x1 ):
Which of them are isomoprhisms of vector spaces?
Theorem 16 Let (V; +; K ) and (W; +; K ) be two nite dimensional vector
spaces over the same eld K; having the same dimension n: Then, the two
vector spaces are isomorphic to each other.
The above statement can be checked as follows. Let B = fe1 ; ::::; en g be a
basis in V and B = ff1 ; :::; fn g be a basis in W ; then, any vector in V can be
uniquely expressed as
x = x1 e1 + ::: + xn en :
We set
T (x) = x1 f1 + :::: + xn fn :
Proof. (Actually, T is dened by T (e1 ) = f1 ; :::; T (en ) = fn ).
Exercise 17 For T : V ! W dened above, prove:
a) T is a linear transformation;
b) T is one-to-one (bijective).
If we set now K = R and W = Rn () dim W = n), then we obtain the most
important consequence of the above theorem:
Theorem 18 Any real vector space (V; +; R ) of dimension n 2 N is isomorphic to Rn :
This is, Rn is the only model for real n-dimensional vector spaces,
any other such vector space algebraically "works" in the same way.

Conic Sections

1.1

## Denition and examples

Conic sections (or, simply, conics) can be dened in at least three ways. As
for us, we shall regard them for the beginning as plane algebraic curves whose
equations are of degree 2. This is, a conic is a plane curve whose equation is of
the form
a11 x2 + 2a12 xy + a22 y 2 + 2a13 x + 2a23 y + a33 = 0;
where aij 2 R; i; j = 1; :::; 3; where at least one of the coe cients a11 ; a12 ; a22
is nonvanishing.
Let us dene two quantities related to a conic:
the determinant

:
a11
a12
a13

a12
a22
a23

a13
a23
a33

## obtained as follows: the index 1 corresponds to multiplication by x in

the equation of the conic, the index 2, to multiplication by y; and the
index 3, to multiplication by 1 (this is, the entry a11 is obtained from the
coe cient of x2 ; the entry a13 ; from the coe cient of x 1 etc). On the main
diagonal, we put the coe cients of x2 ; y 2 and 1 exactly as they appear in
the equation. All the other entries will be divided by 2 (shared between
the "twin" possibilities of obtaining the corresponding term. For instance,
the term 2a13 will be shared between x 1(! a13 ) and 1 x(! a31 )). The
result is a symmetric matrix, whose determinant is :
A conic is called nondegenerate if
minant vanishes:
= 0:
the discriminant

## 6= 0; and degenerate if its deter-

:
=

a11
a12

a12
a22

obtained by "cutting" the last line and the last column from : The sign
of determines the so-called class of the conic section. Namely:
1. if
2. if
3. if

## > 0; the class of the conic is ellipse;

< 0; the class of the conic is hyperbola;
= 0; the class of the conic is parabola.

## Example: Let ( ) : 3xy + 4y 2

0
3
2
1

2x + 4y + 1 = 0: We have
3
2
4

49
6= 0;
4

=

0
3
2

3
2
4

9
< 0;
4

## hence, the class of the conic is hyperbola.

Examples of conic sections:
1. the ellipse

y2
x2
+
a2
b2

2. the hyperbola

x2
a2

1 = 0:
y2
b2

1 = 0:

## 3. the parabola y 2 = 2px; p 6= 0:

4. the empty set: a)
5.
6.

x2
y2
+
+ 1 = 0 b) y 2 =
a2
b2

1:

x2
y2
+ 2 = 0 (the point O(0; 0)).
2
a
b
x2
a2
x
a

y2
x
y
= 0 (the union of two intersecting lines:
+ = 0 and
b2
a
b
y
= 0);
b

## 7. y 2 = 1 (the union of two parallel lines);

8. y 2 = 0 (the line y = 0).
Exercise 1 Compute
that:

and

## for each of the conic sections above and show

the conics 1)-4a) are nondegenerate, while the conics 4b)-8) are degenerate;
the conics 1),4a), and 5) belong to the class of ellipses, 2) and 6) to the
one of hyperbolas, while 3). 7) and 8) belong to the class of parabolas.
The above examples might seem at rst sight nothing but some very simple
"naive" examples of conics. Actually, they are the only plane geometric shapes
described by second degree equations. And this is why:
Theorem 2 For any plane curve whose equation is of degree 2:
a11 x2 + 2a12 xy + a22 y 2 + 2a13 x + 2a23 y + a33 = 0;
there exists a transformation of Cartesian frames fO; {; jg ! fO0 ; {0 ; j 0 g which
transforms its equation into one of the equations 1)-8). The obtained equation
1)-8) is called the standard form (or the reduced canonical form) of the
conic.
2

Moreover, a nondegenerate (and dierent from the empty set) conic belonging to the hyperbola class is actually a hyperbola, a nondegenerate conic of
parabola class is always a parabola, and a nondegenerate conic of ellipse class
is an ellipse.

1.2

## Alternative denitions of conics. Eccentricity

Conic sections are the curves generated by the intersections of a plane with a
right circular cone (hence, their name). If the plane is perpendicular to the axis
of the cone, one obtains a circle. For a plane that is not perpendicular to the
axis and that intersects only a single nappe of the cone, the curve produced is
either an ellipse or a parabola. The curve produced by a plane intersecting both
nappes is a hyperbola. Degenerate conics can be obtained in a similar manner.

## Another denition of conic sections is:

A conic is the locus (Ro: "locul geometric") of points P in the plane xOy;
with the property that the ratio between the distance to a xed point F (called
a focus) and the distance to a xed line d (called the directrix) is a constant
e, called the eccentricity of the conic.

## If e = 0; then the conic is a circle;

if 0 < e < 1; then it is an ellipse;
if e = 1; it is a parabola, and
if e > 1; then it is a hyperbola.
Conics have a wide range of applications. For instance, in astronomy: Kepler
was the rst to notice that planetary orbits were ellipses, and then, Newton
derived the shape of orbits mathematically using calculus. Depending on the
energy of the orbiting body, its trajectory can be an ellipse, a hyperbola or a
parabola. Also, conic sections are used in communications (parabolic antennas),
which is due to the so-called "optical property" of the parabola: any beam which
is parallel to the axis of the parabola is reected (in the parabola, regarded as
a "mirror") through its focus.

0.1

## Let ( ) denote the conic

a11 x2 + 2a12 xy + a22 y 2 + 2a13 x + 2a23 y + a33 = 0:

(1)

Let us notice, for the beginning, that standard forms 1)-8) are particular
types of equations of conics, in which:
there is no xy term;
with the exception of the parabola y 2 = 2px; there is no term of degree 1.
This is, we have to "get rid" of the term xy and, as far as possible, of the
terms of degree 1. The rst aim can be attained by a rotation, while, for the
second one, a translation would su ce.
Step 1: rotation f0; {; jg ! fO; {0 ; j 0 g; (x; y) ! (x0 ; y 0 ):
Aim - to get rid of the xy term from the equation (1).
If a12 = 0; this step becomes unnecessary and we can pass directly to step
2.
That is, we are looking for an orthonormal basis f{0 ; j 0 g; in which the equation of the conic looks like this:
0 2
1 (x )

2 (y

0 2

## ) + 2a013 x0 + 2a023 y 0 + a033 = 0:

By direct computation, it can be shown that the necessary angle of rotation 2 [0; ] is given by
2
tan 2 =

2a12
:
a11 a22

(2)

Remarks: 1) Since tan = tan( + ); relation (2) will always give two
solutions in the interval [0; 2 ): By convention, we choose 2 [0; ]:
2
2) If a11 a22 = 0; then in the expression of tan 2 we have a division by 0,
meaning that 2 = .
2
Exercise 1 (*): Prove that relation (2) holds true.
Indication: replace x; y from the equations of the rotation of angle
x
y

cos
sin

sin
cos

x0
y0

into equation (1) and impose the condition that the coe cient of x0 y 0 should
vanish.

1. If the angle

Remark 2

## of rotation is between 0 and

sign(

2)

; then

= sign(a12 ):

Exercise 3 (*) Prove the above relation (by using the expressions of
obtained in the previous exercise).

and

## Remark: It can be proven (also by direct calculation) that 1 and 2 can

be also directly found as the solutions of the so-called secular equation:
2

I + = 0;

## where I = a11 + a22 :

Step 2: translation fO; {0 ; j 0 g ! fO0 ; {0 ; j 0 g; (x0 ; y 0 ) ! (X; Y ):
Aim: to get rid of the terms of degree 1 (if possible). Method: grouping
terms into squares of bynomials.
So far, the equation of the conic is
( ):

0 2
1 (x )

2 (y

0 2

## We take 1 and 2 as common factors and we group the terms in x0 and,

respectively, y 0 in order to obtain squares of binomials in the form:
2

(x0 + x0 ) ;

2 (y

+ y0 )2 :

This is:
( ):

"

(x0 )2 +

2a013 x0
1

+a033

(a013 )2
2

( 1)
(a013 )2

"

(y 0 )2 +

(a023 )2

2a023 x0

a013

a023

a013

; Y = y0 +

(a013 )2

a0033 = a033

(a023 )2
2

+

2Y

+ a0033 = 0;

2

a023

2
2)

=0

1X

X = x0 +

(a023 )2

(3)

## Remark 4 If one of the values 1 or 2 is 0 (one of the squares (x0 )2 or (y 0 )2

is missing), then the corresponding term of degree 1 will not be included in any
square of a binomial (and we just group it with the remaining free term); so in
the nal equation, there will appear a term of degree 1, which means that the
conic is of parabola class.
Example: Reduce to the standard form and plot the conic: 9x2
y + 20x = 0:
We have

6xy +

9
3
10

3
1
0

10
0
0

100 6= 0;

9
3

3
1

= 0;

## hence, our conic is nondegenerate and belongs to the parabola class.

Step 1 - rotation:
2a12
3
sin 2
; we get tan 2 =
=
:
a11 a22
4
cos 2
For 2 [0; ]; we have sin 2
0; hence the negative sign belongs to the
2
cosinus: cos 2 < 0:
By squaring the above, we have
From tan 2 =

)
Now, from cos 2 =

sin2 2
cos2 2
1
cos2 2

9
j +1
16
25
=
) cos 2 =
16

4
; we get cos ; sin
5

cos 2 = 1

2 sin2

4
:
5

= 2 cos2

1:

From the above relations (and taking into account that for
0), we get:
cos
The matrix of rotation is:

1
= p ; sin
10
0

1
p
B 10
S=@ 3
p
10

3
=p
10

3 1
p
10 C
A
1
p
10

x =
y

1
p (x0 3y 0 )
10
1
p (3x0 + y 0 ):
10
3

; sin ; cos

## By replacing the above into the equation of the conic, we get

20
10(y 0 )2 + p (x0
10

3y 0 ) = 0;

## after a simplication by 10;

2
(y 0 )2 + p (x0
10

3y 0 ) = 0:

Step 2: translation
Since (x0 )2 is missing from the equation, we shall proceed to grouping only
the terms in y 0 in order to obtain the square of a binomial, and the remaining
2
term p x0 will be grouped with the remaining free term:
10
9
2 3
p y0 +
10
10

(y 0 )2

9
2
+ p x0 = 0;
10
10

this is,
y0
Let

3
p
10

2
+p
10

x0

9
p
2 10

= 0:

8
9
>
< x0 = X + p
2
10 :
,
3
>
>
0
0
: y =Y +p
: Y =y
10
9
3
denote the translation to O0 (x0 = p ; y 0 = p ): After this translation, the
2 10
10
equation of the conic becomes
8
>
< X = x0

9
p
2 10
3
p
10

Y2 =

2
p X;
10

0.2

## Center, axes and asymptotes of a conic

In some situations, we dont need the reduced canonical equation of a conic, but
only some data related to it, such as: the coordinates of its center, the slopes of
the axes, the slopes of its asymptotes. These can be inferred directly from the
general equation of a conic, without passing to the standard form.
So, let our conic ( ) be described by the equation
f (x; y)
0.2.1

## a11 x2 + 2a12 xy + a22 y 2 + 2a13 x + 2a23 y + a33 = 0:

Center of a conic

The coordinates of the center are the solutions (x0 ; y0 ) of the system:
1 0
f
2 x
1 0
f
2 y

## a11 x + a12 y + a13 = 0

a12 x + a22 y + a23 = 0;

where fx0 and fy0 denote the partial derivatives w.r.t. x and y of the function f:
Remark 5 For conics of parabola class, the above system does not have any
solutions. Conic sections of parabola class do not have any center.

0.2.2

Axes of a conic

If the conic is an ellipse or a hyperbola, then its axes pass through the center;
if it is a parabola, then its axis (together with the tangent at the vertex) pass
d
through its vertex. The angle of rotation of the axes, namely = Ox;
Ox0 ; can
be inferred from
2a12
tg(2 ) =
:
a11 a22
The slopes of the axes can be also obtained as the solutions of the second
degree equation
a12 m2 + (a11 a22 )m a12 = 0:
Remark 6 The above equation has the discriminant (a11
this is, it always has real solutions.

a22 )2 + 4a212

0;

Remark 7 If a12 = 0; then the angle of rotation is 0, which means that the
axes of the conic are parallel to Ox and Oy respectively.
0.2.3

Asymptotes

Also, asymptotes of the conic (if any) pass through its center. Their slopes are
given by the equation:
a22 m2 + 2a12 m + a11 = 0:
Remark 8 The discriminant of the above equation is 4(a212 a11 a22 ) = 4 :
Consequently, the only conics which admit real and distinct asymptotes are those
of hyperbola class.
Exercise 9 Let ( ) : 3x2

6xy + 2x + 2y = 0:

1. Compute the invariants and of the conic and determine its nature (degenerate or nondegenerate) and its class (ellipse, hyperbola or parabola).
2. Find its center, axes and asymptotes (if any).
3. Bring it to the standard form at plot it.
Exercise 10 Determine the canonical reduced equations and plot the following
conic sections:
1. 3x2

2xy + 3y 2 + 4x + 4y + 4 = 0:

2. 2xy

2x + 1 = 0:

3. x

4xy + 4y 2 + 2x = 0:

4. 4x2 + 4xy + y 2

4x

2y + 1 = 0:

Coordinate Transformations

Let fO; {; j; kg and fO0 ; {0 ; j 0 ; k 0 g denote two Cartesian frames in space. Any
way of passing from the rst frame to the latter one can be regarded as the
composition of two motions:
1. change the origin O ! O0 , and leave the basis unchanged:
fO; {; j; kg ! fO0 ; {; j; kg:
This is called a translation.
2. leave the origin unchanged, and perform a change of bases:
fO0 ; {; j; kg ! fO0 ; {0 ; j 0 ; k 0 g:
Let us study separately these two types of transformations.

1.1

## Translations in plane and in space

A. In space:
Let us consider the transformation R =fO; {; j; kg ! R0 = fO0 ; {; j; kg;
where O0 has, with respect to the "old" frame R; the coordinates x0 ; y0 ; z0 :
O0 (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ):
For a point A in space, let (x; y; z) denote its coordinates with respect to R;
and (x0 ; y 0 ; z 0 ), its coordinates with respect to the "new" frame R0 : This is,
!
!
OA(x; y; z); O0 A(x0 ; y 0 ; z 0 ):
!
!
!
Then, we have O0 A = OA OO0 ; which, in coordinates, leads to:
8 0
< x = x x0
y 0 = y y0 :
(1)
: 0
z = z z0

## The inverse transformation is:

8
< x = x0 + x0
y = y 0 + y0 :
:
z = z 0 + z0

(2)

!
Relations (1)-(2) are the equations of the translation by vector OO0 (x0 ; y0 ; z0 )
in space.
Example: If A(2; 3; 4) with respect to some frame fO; {; j; kg and we translate the frame to the point O0 (1; 0; 2); then, in the new frame fO0 ; {; j; kg; A will
have the coordinates:
x0 = 2

1 = 1; y 0 = 3

0 = 3; z 0 = 4
1

2 = 2:

B. In plane
In a similar way, the transformation R =fO; {; jg ! R0 = fO0 ; {; jg; where
0
O has, with respect to the "old" frame R; the coordinates x0 ; y0 :
O0 (x0 ; y0 );
yields a transformation of the coordinates of some point A(x; y) as follows:
x0 = x
y0 = y

x0
;
y0

x = x0 + x0
y = y 0 + y0

## Exercise 1 Let, in the plane xOy; ( ) : x2 + y 2

equation of ( ) after a translation to O0 (1; 2):

2x + 4y

4 = 0: Find the

## Exercise 2 Show that, in space, performing a translation by an arbitrary vector

!
OO0 (a; b; c) always brings the equation of a plane into the equation of a plane and
the equations of a straight line into the equations of a straight line (equivalently:
translations preserve collinearity and coplanarity).

1.2

## Changes of orthonormal bases in plane and in space

A. In space
Let us now preserve the origin O of our Cartesian frame, and perform a
change of orthonormal bases
f{; j; kg ! f{0 ; j 0 ; k 0 g:
Let again A be a point whose coordinates are:
A(x; y; z) with respect to the old frame fO; {; j; kg;
A(x0 ; y 0 ; z 0 ) with respect to the new frame fO0 ; {0 ; j 0 ; k 0 g:
As known from Linear Algebra, any change of bases (not necessarily orthonormal ones) is characterized by the so called matrix of change C = (cij )i;j=1;3 ,
dened as follows:
8 0
< { = c11 { + c21 j + c31 k
j 0 = c12 { + c22 j + c32 k :
: 0
k = c13 { + c23 j + c33 k
Then, the columns with the coordinates of A (which are the same as the coor!
dinates of OA)
0
1
0 0 1
x
x
X = @ y A ; X 0 = @ y0 A
z
z0
are related by

X = CX 0 :

Remark 3 If both the bases f{; j; kg and f{0 ; j 0 ; k 0 g are orthonormal, then the
matrix of change C has the property C C t = I3 ; which leads to
det C =

1:

2 2 1
2 1 2
1
Exercise 4
1. Show that {0 ( ; ; ); j 0 (
; ; ); k 0 ( ;
3 3 3
3 3 3
3
normal basis in space.

2 2
; ) is an ortho3 3

## 2. Find the equation of the plane ( ) : x + y + z = 0 in the basis f{0 ; j 0 ; k 0 g:

B. In plane
Let fO0 ; {0 ; j 0 g be a frame obtained from fO; {; jg after a rotation of angle
2 [0o ; 180o ]: Then, we have
{0 = cos { + sin j
j 0 = sin { + cos j:

## This is, the matrix of change of bases is

C=

cos
sin

sin
cos

(3)

The relation between the "old" coordinates (x; y) and the "new" ones (x0 ; y 0 ) of
some point A is given by X = CX 0 ; which is:
x
y

cos
sin

sin
cos

x0
y0

(4)

Example: Find the equation of the line y = x + 5 in the plane xOy; after
a rotation of angle = 45o :
We have
0 1
1 1
p
p
x0
x
B
2 C
;
= @ 12
A
1
y0
y
p
p
2
2

which is,

8
1
>
< x = p (x0 y 0 )
2
:
1 0
>
: y = p (x + y 0 )
2

## By replacing into the equation of the line y = x + 5; we get

p
p
5 2
0
0
0
0
0
x +y =x
y +5 2 )y =
:
2
Exercise 5 Find the equation of the circle x2 +y 2 = R2 in the plane xOy; after
a rotation of arbitrary angle :
Also, an important class of changes of bases in plane are reections:
reection in the Ox-axis ("vertical ip"): f{; jg ! f{; jg; which is,
C=

1
0

0
1

x = x0
:
y = y0

## reection in the Oy-axis ("horizontal ip"): f{; jg ! f {; jg; which

is,
1 0
x = x0
C=
:
!
0 1
y = y0
reection across O : f{; jg ! f {; jg; which is,
C=

1
0

0
1

x=
y=

x0
:
y0

= 180o ).

## Exercise 6 Find the equation of the parabola y = x2 + 1 after: a reection

in the Ox-axis; a reection in the Oy-axis; a reection across O; a rotation of
angle = 90o :

1
1.1

## Free (Spatial) Vectors

Denition and basic properties

## In Physics, one works with two kinds of quantities:

- scalars (numbers), such as mass, temperature etc.;
- vectors, possessing three characteristics: direction, orientation and length.
Example in this category include: displacement, force, velocity, acceleration,
momentum etc.
Besides their importance for physics, vectors are a key notion in geometry
modern geometry cannot even be imagined without them. Calculation of
distances, angles, areas and volumes in space are just a few of their applications,
which we will present in the following.
From now on, by "space", we shall mean the physical (ambient) space.
!
Consider two points A; B in space. The bound vector AB is the segment
AB; for which we distinguish two orientations (senses): from A to B and from
B to A: Usually, we denote bound vectors by an arrow. We denote
!
BA =

!
AB;

!
!
the vector BA is called the opposite of AB:
!
The direction of the bound vector AB is formed by all the straight lines
which are parallel to the straight line AB:
!
!
The length (or the norm) AB of the vector AB is, by denition, the length
of the segment AB :
!
AB = AB:
!
For a bound vector AB; the point A is called the origin or the tail of the
vector, while B is called the head (tip, destination) of the vector.
!
!
The zero vector is, by denition, the vector 0 = AA:
Denition 1 The free vector AB is the set of all bound vectors which have
the same direction, the same orientation and the same length as the bound vector
!
AB:

## Thus, a free vector can be imagined as an oriented segment which is free to

move throughout the space, with the only condition that its direction, orientation and length should remain unchanged. All these positions of the oriented
segment dene the same free vector (and their coordinates will be the same).
!
!
In other words: if AB and CD are two bound vectors with the same direction, orientation and length, as bound vectors, they are dierent, but the
corresponding free vectors are equal to each other:
!
!
AB 6= CD;

AB = CD:
1

!
We usually denote free vectors by a bar: a: A certain oriented segment AB
belonging to the free vector AB is called a representative of the vector AB:
In the following, by "vector", unless elsewhere specied, we will always mean
a free vector.

1.2

## Addition and scalar multiplication

The rst operations with vectors we are going to talk about are addition and
scalar multiplication.
We denote by E3 the set of free vectors in space, by E2 ; the set of free vectors
in the plane and by E1 ; the set of vectors on the line.
Addition: by the parallelogram rule, or by the triangle rule:

## Properties of vector addition:

0) the sum of two vectors in E3 is again a vector in E3 (the set E3 is closed
8a; b 2 E3 : a + b 2 E3 ;
1) vector addition is associative:
8a; b; c 2 E3 : (a + b) + c = a + (b + c);
2) vector addition is commutative:
8a; b 2 E3 : a + b = b + a;
3) the zero vector is a neutral element:
8a 2 E3 : 0 + a = a + 0 = a;
4) any vector admits a symmetric with respect to addition (namely, the sum
between a vector and its opposite is always zero):
8a 2 E3 ; 9( a) 2 E3 : a + ( a) = 0:
In brief, (E3 ; +) is an Abelian group.

## Scalar multiplication: the vector a is dened by:

- the same direction as a;
- length: j j a

- orientation of a if

## is positive, and opposite to a; if

2

is negative.

scalar multiplication
Properties of scalar multiplication:
0) the result of scalar multiplication between a real number and a vector is
a vector:
8 2 R; 8a 2 E3 : a 2 E3 ;
1) distributivity w.r.t. addition of scalars:
8 ; 2 R; 8a 2 E3 : ( + )a = a + a;
2) distributivity w.r.t. addition of vectors:
8 2 R; 8a; b 2 E3 : (a + b) = a + b;
3) "associativity" (where the rst two factors are scalars and the third one
is a vector):
8 ; 2 R; 8a 2 E3 : ( a) = (
)a;
4) 1 is a "neutral element" for scalar multiplication:
8a 2 E3 : 1a = a:
The above properties of scalar multiplication are somehow similar to the
ones of multiplication in a ring, but the essential dierence here is that scalar
multiplication is not an internal operation on E3 (since it involves a scalar and
a vector), but an external operation, formally denoted by R : R E3 ! E3 :
Similar properties are obeyed by vectors in the plane E2 or on the line E1 :

1.3

## Imagine a person (an observer) trying to describe as precisely as possible the

motion of an object he/she sees. We all know that, in order to be able to
do this, one needs some reference frame (or simply, a frame), with respect to
which then one determines some numbers, called coordinates, which uniquely
characterize the position (velocity, acceleration etc.) of the moving object at
some moment of time. In geometry, in order to describe complicated shapes, we
cannot manage without the use of frames and coordinates.
But, what is a reference frame? How can we build it and, moreover, how
many vectors do we need for it and what are the relations between them?
Two vectors a; b are called collinear (linearly dependent) if they have the
same direction. Algebraically, it means that
a = b;
3

for some 2 R. In the contrary case, the vectors a and b are called non-collinear,
or linearly independent.
Three vectors a; b; c are called coplanar if their representatives having a
common origin lie in the same plane. This means that one of the three vectors
(for instance, c) can be "decomposed" in terms of a and b (by drawing, from
the tip pf c parallel lines to a and b). From an algebraic point of view:
c = a + b;
for some ; 2 R.
In the contrary case, the three vectors are called non-coplanar, or linearly
independent.

linear dependence
More generally, n vectors v1 ; v2 ; ::::; vn are called linearly dependent if one of
them can be expressed as a linear combination of the other n 1 vectors. For
instance,
vn = 1 v1 + 2 v2 + ::: + n vn :
We will accept for the moment that, for a single vector v, linear dependence
means v = 0 (intuitively, the only vector v which can be written in a nontrivial way as a multiple of itself, v, is the zero vector) accordingly, linear
independence means v 6= 0; a full justication of this denition will be given in
the Linear Algebra chapter.
The following theorem is sometimes called the Fundamental Theorem of
Analytic Geometry.
Theorem 2
1. On a straight line there exists one linearly independent
(nonzero) vector. Any two vectors are linearly dependent.
2. In a plane, there exist two linearly independent (non-collinear) vectors.
Any three vectors are linearly dependent.
3. In space, there exist three linearly independent (non-coplanar) vectors.
Any four vectors are linearly dependent.
4

## Denition 3 A frame on Ei (i = 1; 2 or 3) consists of a point O, together

with a maximal set B of linearly independent vectors in Ei .
The point O is called the origin of the frame, while the set B is called a basis
for Ei :
That is:
1) a frame on the line E1 consists of a point O; together with a nonzero
vector;
2) in the plane E2 , a frame means a point, together with two non-collinear
vectors;
3) in space (in E3 ), a frame consists of a point O; together with three noncoplanar vectors.
The angles between the vectors entering a frame, as well as their lengths can
basically be arbitrary. Still, the most comfortable (and the most usual) choice
are the so-called Cartesian or orthonormal frames.
Denition 4 A Cartesian frame in E 3 consists of a point O, called the origin, and an orthonormal basis, i.e., a basis consisting of mutually perpendicular ("orthogonal") vectors of length equal to 1.
1) On the line E1 , a Cartesian frame is of the form fO; {g; with k{k = 1:
2) In the plane E2 , a Cartesian frame means fO; {; jg; with k{k = kjk = 1
and { ? j:
3) In the Euclidean space E3 ; a Cartesian frame means fO; {; j; kg; with
k{k = kjk = k = 1 and { ? j; j ? k; k ? {:
In the following, we will discuss coordinates on E3 : We will attach to the
basis vectors {; j; k the coordinates:
{ \$ (1; 0; 0); j \$ (0; 1; 0); k \$ (0; 0; 1);
for an arbitrary vector a:
a = a1 { + a2 j + a3 k \$ (a1 ; a2 ; a3 ) 2 R3 :
We denote
a(a1 ; a2 ; a3 );
and call (a1 ; a2 ; a3 ) the Cartesian coordinates of a 2 E 3 :
!
If a represents the bound vector OA,
a(a1 ; a2 ; a3 ) = OA;
then we say that the point A has the Cartesian coordinates (a1 ; a2 ; a3 ) :
A(a1 ; a2 ; a3 ) \$ OA(a1 ; a2 ; a3 ):

!
The vector OA is called the position vector of the point A:
5

To any other bound vector ~a which has the same direction, orientation, and
!
length as OA (that is, for the whole free vector OA) we attach the same coordinates (a1 ; a2 ; a3 ):
Addition and scalar multiplication of vectors take place component-wise, i.e.
a(a1 ; a2 ; a3 ); b(b1 ; b2 ; b3 ):
Proposition 5 If A(xA ; yA ; zA ); B(xB ; yB ; zB ); then
AB(xB

xA ; yB

yA ; z B

zA ):

## Example: If A(2; 3; 4); B(0; 1; 2); then:

OA(2; 3; 4) , OA = 2{ + 3j + 4k;
OB(0; 1; 2) , OB = j + 2k;
AB(xB xA ; yB yA ; zB zA ) ) AB( 2; 4; ; 2):
Exercises:
1) Consider the points A(1; 2; 0); B(2; 3; 1); C(3; 4; 3): a) Determine the
vectors: OA; OB; OC; AB; BA; AC; BC:
b) Calculate (in coordinates) and draw: AB+ BA; AB + AC; AB + AC +
BC; AB BC; AC BC:
c) Calculate: 2AB; 3AC:
2) Which of the following pairs of vectors are collinear: a) a(2; 1; 4) and
b(2; 2; 4); b) c(2; 3; 1) and d( 4; 6; 2)?
3) Which of the following vectors are coplanar: a) a(1; 2; 3) and b(2; 3; 4); b)
a(1; 2; 3), b(2; 3; 4); c(1; 1; 1); c) a(1; 2; 3), b(2; 3; 4); d(5; 0; 1)?

1.4

a b = kak
where

cos ;

## 2 (0; 180o )):

Properties:
1. the dot product is commutative: a b = b a; 8a; b 2 E3
2. it is distributive w.r.t. addition: a (b + c) = a b + a c; 8a; b; c 2 E3 ;
3. a ( b) = ( a) b = a b; 8a; b 2 E3 ; 8 2 R:
4. if a and b are non-zero, then a b = 0 if and only is a is perpendicular to
b : a ? b:
6

## The expression in coordinates of the scalar product: If a(a1 ; a2 ; a3 )

and b(b1 ; b2 ; b3 ); then
a b = a1 b1 + a2 b2 + a3 b3 :
Applications:
1. The length (norm) of the vector a is
q
p
kak = a a = a21 + a22 + a23 :
2. The angle between a and b is computed as
cos

a b
:
kak b

unit(a) =

a
:
kak

## 4. the length of the projection of a onto b is given by prb a =

kak cos ; this is,
a b
prb a =
:
b

Exercise 7

## a) the coordinates of the vectors AB; AC; BC:

b) the scalar products AB AC; AB BC; AC BC;
c) the lengths of the sides of the triangle ABC:
d) the angles of the triangle ABC:
1. Show that the vectors a( 2; 2; 1) and b(2; 1; 2) are perpendicular.
2. Let

B(1; 2; 1);
C(3; 0; 1):
Calculate
AB
\
AB ; AC cos(AB AC); prAC AB and the unit vector of AC:

1.5

A(1; 2; 0);

AC;

by:

## direction: perpendicular to both a and b;

7

orientation: given by the right-hand rule (if the pointing nger of your
right hand indicates the orientation of the rst vector a and your middle
nger, the orientation of the second vector b; then your thumb points as
a b);
length: a b = kak b sin ; where
directions of a and b:

## the vector product

Properties:
1. the dot product is anticommutative: a
2. it is distributive w.r.t. addition: a
3. a

( b) = ( a)

b= a

b=

(b + c) = a

a:
b+a

c:

b:

## 4. if a and b are non-zero, then a b = 0 , a is collinear to b:

Expression in coordinates:
a

b=

{
a1
b1

j
a2
b2

k
a3
b3

## Application: The length of a b can be interpreted as the area of the

parallelogram having a and b as sides.
Consequently, the area of a triangle having a and b as sides is half of the
area of the parallelogram, this is:
A =

1
a
2

b :

Example: Let A(1; 2; 0); B(1; 2; 1); C(3; 0; 1): Calculate the area of the
triangle ABC:
8

## Solution: We have: AB(0; 0; 1); AC(2; 2; 1) and

AB

The norm AB

AC =

{
0
2

AC is then AB
A

ABC

j k
0 1
2 1
AC =

1
AB
2

= 2{ + 2j:
p

p
22 + 22 = 2 2; which leads to

AC =

2:

Exercise 9 Let a(2; 1; 2); b(3; 1; 4); c(2; 2; 5): a) Calculate the cross products
a b; a c; b c: b) Determine the areas of the parallelograms built on a; b and
a; c respectively. c) Find a perpendicular vector to both a and b; which has the
length equal to 2 units.
Exercise 10 Calculate by means of the cross product the area of the triangle
ABC; where A(1; 0; 0); B(1; 0; 1); C(2; 3; 1) and the altitude (or height) from
A:
Exercise 11 Find the area of the parallelogram built on the vectors m = 2a+3b;
[
n = a b; where kak = 1; b = 2; (a;
b) = : (Hint: calculate m n and take
6
into account that a a = 0; b b = 0; b a = a b).

1.6

## Mixed triple product (Box product)

The mixed triple product (also called the box product or scalar triple
product) is dened as:
(a; b; c) = a (b c):
Expression in coordinates:
(a; b; c) =

a1
b1
c1

a2
b2
c2

a3
b3
c3

Applications:
1. The absolute value of the box product is the volume of the parallelepiped built on the three vectors:
Vparall = (a; b; c) :
The volume of the tetrahedron built on a; b; c (as non-coplanar edges)
is
1
(a; b; c) :
Vparall =
6
9

2. The box product zero if and only if the three vectors are linearly dependent
(coplanar).
3. The box product is positive if and only if the system consisting of the
three vectors a; b; c is right-handed (i.e., c lies on the same side of the
plane (a; b) as the cross product a b).
Exercise 12
1. Determine the mixed triple product of a(1; 2; 3); b(2; 3; 4)
and c(3; 3; 5):
2. Find
2 R such that the vectors a(1; 2; 3); b(2; 0; 2) and c(4; 4; ) are
coplanar.
3. Determine the volume of the tetrahedron ABCD; where A(1; 2; 3);
B(1; 2; 4); C(2; 2; 4); D(2; 3; 4); and the altitude from A of the tetrahedron.
! ! !
Hint: VABCD =

1
:
6

10

Generated surfaces

## A generated surface is a surface that can be swept out by moving a given

curve. The dierent positions of the moving curve are called the generatrices
of the surface.
If the moving curve is a line, then the generated surface is called a ruled
surface. In this case, the (rectilinear) generatrices are called the rulings of the
surface.
Another important class of generated surfaces is that of revolution surfaces, obtained by rotating a given curve around a straight line (in this case,
we can regard the surface as generated by circles).
In the following, let us expose some generalities on curves and surfaces in
3-dimensional Euclidean space.
A surface in E 3 is generally dened by a single equation in x; y; z:
(S) : F (x; y; z) = 0:
(Remember that a plane was characterized by a single equation!).
A curve in 3-dimensional space can be dened as the intersection of two
surfaces, this is, it is described by a system of equations:
(C) :

F (x; y; z) = 0
:
G(x; y; z) = 0

## (In particular, a straight line is described by two equations in x; y; z).

1.1

Cylindrical surfaces

## A cylindrical surface is a surface swept out by a moving line having a xed

direction, and which intersects a given curve (C); called the directrix of the
surface.
In order to deduce the equation of such a surface, let:
P A1 x + B1 y + C1 z + D1 = 0
be the "initial position" of the
Q A2 x + B2 y + C2 z + D2 = 0
moving lines. Hence, any ruling (rectilinear generatrix) of the surface will
be a line which is parallel to (d):
(d) :

(C) :

F (x; y; z) = 0
be the directrix curve of the surface.
G(x; y; z) = 0

## Let us now deduce the equation of the cylindrical surface.

Step 1: We write the equations of all straight lines which have the same
direction as (d) (this is, all lines which are parallel to (d)). Since (d) is given as
the intersection of two planes (P ) and (Q); this can be performed by intersecting
a plane which is parallel to (P ) with a plane which is parallel to (Q) :
(G

):

P =
Q=
1

2 R:

## Step 2: The rulings of the surface are exactly those lines (G

intersect the curve (C): This is, the system
8
P =
>
>
( )
< (G ) :
Q=
F (x; y; z) = 0
>
>
: (C) :
G(x; y; z) = 0

) which

## has to be consistent. Since it is a (generally, nonlinear) system with 3 unknowns

x; y; z and 4 equations, it basically requires a condition of consistency
( ; ) = 0;
which refers to the parameters
and : This condition can be obtained by
eliminating from the system, one by one, the unknowns x; y; z:
The equation of the surface can now be obtained by simply replacing in the
condition of consistency, the expressions ( ) of and in terms of x; y; z :
= P;

= Q;

## this is, the equation of the cylindrical surface is

(P; Q) = 0:
The reason for the above said is the following: writing the equation of the
surface means to nd a relation between the coordinates x; y; z of an arbitrary
point of the surface. Or, points of the surface are precisely the points of those
straight lines (G ) which intersect (C); this is, of those (G ) for which and
are related by ( ; ) = 0: But, once and stay in this relation, then x; y; z
are necessarily related by (P; Q) = 0:
Example: Write the equation of the cylindrical surface generated by lines
y
z
x
parallel to (d) :
=
= ; and which intersect the curve (C) : y = sin x;
1
2
1
z = 0:
First, let us write the equations of (d) in the form P = 0; Q = 0: We get
(d) :

P
Q

2x y = 0
:
x z=0

(G

):

2x y =
x z=

: ( )

8
2x y =
>
>
:
< (G ) :
x z=
:
y sin x = 0
>
>
: (C) :
z=0
2

## Let us eliminate x; y; z; in order to obtain the condition of consistency. By using

the second and the last equation, we get x = : From the rst equation, we have
now y = 2
: The third equation then yields
( ; )

sin

= 0:

## The coordinates of the points of the surface are related to and by ( ): By

replacing into the expressions ( ); we obtain the equation of the surface:
2x

2z

2x + y

(S) : y

2z

sin(x

z) = 0;

this is,
sin(x

z) = 0:

## 1. Find the equation of the cylindrical surface generated by straight

x+y =0
lines which are parallel to (d) :
and intersect the ellipse
x
z 1=0
8
< 2 y2
x +
=1 :
(C) :
4
:
z = 0:

Exercise 1

## 2. Determine the equation of the cylindrical surface with

8 rulings parallel to
< 2 y2
x
=1 :
v(1; 2; 2); and having as directrix the hyperbola (C) :
9
:
z = 0:

## 3. Determine the equation of the tangent cylinder to the sphere (S) : x2 +

x
y+4
z
y 2 + z 2 = 4; having the rulings parallel to (d) : =
=
:
1
2
1

1.2

Conic surfaces

A conic surface is swept out by straight lines which pass through a xed point
(called vertex or apex) and intersect a given curve, called the directrix.
Let us consider that the vertex V is given as the intersection of three planes,
(P ); (Q) and (R) :
8
< P =0
Q=0
V :
:
R = 0:

and the directrix curve (C) is again described as the intersection of two surfaces:
F (x; y; z) = 0
G(x; y; z) = 0:

(C) :

## Note: If V (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ); then P x x0 ; Q y y0 ; R z z0 :

Step 1: We write the equations of all straight lines passing through V (by
intersecting the sheaf of planes determined by (P ) and (Q) with the sheaf of
planes determined by (P ) and (R)):
(G

P = Q
P = R

):

( ):

Step 2: The lines (G ) have to intersect (C); this is, the corresponding
system of equations has to be consistent:
8
P = Q
>
>
< (G ) :
P = R
F
(x;
y; z) = 0
>
>
: (C) :
G(x; y; z) = 0:

## We get the condition of consistency: ( ; ) = 0; and, by replacing into this

condition the expressions ( ) of and ; we get the equation of the surface:
(

P P
; ) = 0:
Q R

Example: write the equation of the cone having as vertex V (0; 0; 0) and as
directrix curve, the parabola: (C) : y 2 = 2x; z = 1:
The vertex V (0; 0; 0) can be described as the intersection of the planes
P
Q
R

x=0
y=0
z = 0:

(G

):

x= y
x = z:
4

( )

## Intersection with (C) leads to the system

8
x= y
>
>
< (G ) :
x = z:
y 2 = 2x
>
>
:
: (C) :
z=1

By the second and the last equation, we get x = ; from the rst, y =
from the third equation, we get

: Now,

2 = 0:

( ; )
But, from ( ); we get

x
;
y
y
z

x
: Hence, the equation of the surface is
z

x
= 0 ) y 2 = 2xz:
z

Exercise 2
1. Find the equation of the surface generated by straight lines
passing through O(0; 0; 0) and which intersect the circle (C) : x2 + y 2 = 1;
z = 5:
2. Determine the equation of the conic8
surface with vertex A(1; 4; 5) and hav< 2 y2
x
=1 :
ing as directrix the hyperbola (C) :
9
:
z = 0:
3. Determine the equation of the cone of vertex V (3; 4; 5); tangent to the
sphere (S) : x2 + y 2 + z 2 = 4:

1.3

## A conoidal surface is generated by moving straight lines which are parallel to

a given plane (P ) and intersect a given line (d) and a given curve (C):
Let us suppose
(P ) : P = 0;

Q=0
; (C) :
R=0

(d) :

F (x; y; z) = 0
G(x; y; z) = 0:

Lines which are parallel to (P ) and intersect (d) are obtained as the intersection
between a plane which is parallel to (P ) and one which contains (d) :
(G
Intersection with (C) yields:
8
>
>
< (G

P =
:
Q= R

):

):

>
>
: (C) :

( )

P =
Q= R
F (x; y; z) = 0
G(x; y; z) = 0:

## which produces the condition of consistency ( ; ) = 0: Then, by ( ); we get

Q
= P; = ; and the equation of the surface is
R
(P;

Q
) = 0:
R

Example: Find the equation of the surface swept out by lines which are
parallel to (P ) = (xOy); and intersect the straight lines Oz and (C) : x + 2y =
3; x = z:
8
z=
>
>
< (G ) :
Q x=0
x= y
We have (d) = (Oz) :
; this is, we get
:
R y=0
x + 2y = 3
>
>
: (C) :
x = z:
From the rst, the second and the last equation, we have x = ; y =

## third equation leads to

+2
With

= z;

= 3 ) (1 +

)=3

x
; the equation of the surface is
y
z(1 +

2y
) = 3:
x

: The

Exercise 3
1. Find the equation of the surface generated by lines which intersect Oz; the curve (C) : y = 2 + sin x; z = 5 and stay parallel to the
plane (P ) : x + y + z = 0:
2. Find the equation of the conoidal surface generated by lines which intersect
x 1
y+4
z 6
the lines Oz and (d) :
=
=
and remain parallel to the
2
3
5
plane (P ) : x + y 3z = 1:

1.4

Surfaces of revolution

## A surface of revolution is obtained by rotating a plane curve (C) (called the

directrix) around a straight line, called the axis of rotation.
Let (C) : F (x; y; z) = 0; G(x; y; z) = 0 denote the directrix curve, and
(d) :

x0
l

y0
z z0
=
m
n

be the axis of rotation. Then, the surface can be regarded as swept out by
circles having their centers oh the axis of rotation, and situated in planes which
are perpendicular to the axis. These can be obtained by intersecting of spheres
of arbitrary radius 2 R+ ; and centers at an arbitrary xed point on (d) (for
instance, at (x0 ; y0 ; z0 )), with planes perpendicular to (d): This is, the generating
circles can be described as:
(G

):

(x

x0 )2 + (y y0 )2 + (z
lx + my + nz =

z0 )2 =

## By intersecting them with (C); the resulting system

8
(x x0 )2 + (y y0 )2 + (z z0 )2 =
>
>
< (G ) :
lx + my + nz =
F
(x;
y; z) = 0
>
>
:
: (C) :
G(x; y; z) = 0
7

( )

## (3 unknowns x; y; z, 4 equations) requires a condition of consistency ( 2 ; ) =

0: By replacing the values of 2 and from ( ); we get the equation of the
surface:
(x

x0 )2 + (y

y0 )2 + (z

z0 )2 ; lx + my + nz = 0:

Example: Find the equation of the surface obtained by rotating the circle
(C) : (x 4)2 + y 2 = 1; z = 0 in the plane xOy; around Oy.
x
y
z
We have (d) = (Oy) : = = ; this is, the generating circles are
0
1
0
(G

):

x2 + y 2 + z 2 =
y=

## Intersection with (C) yields

We get x2 = 2
above system is:

8
x2 + y 2 + z 2 = 2
>
>
<
y=
:
2
(x
4)
+ y2 = 1
>
>
:
z=0
p
2
2 . The condition of consistency of the
)x=

( ; )
Since

= x2 + y 2 + z 2 ;

2
2

= y; we get:
p
x2 + z 2 4

+ y2

1 = 0:

1 = 0:

## The "donut" shape we obtained is called a torus:

Exercise 4 Find the equations of the surfaces obtained by rotating the parabola
(C) : y = x2 ; z = 0 around:
1. Oy;
2. Ox:

Plane curves

1.0.1

Representations

## A plane curve is described by:

1. y = f (x) (explicit representation) or
2. F (x; y) = 0 (implicit representation) or
3.

x = x(t)
; t 2 [a; b] 2 R (parametric representation).
y = y(t)

OM

## A point M (x0 ; y0 ) of a curve (C) is called regular if the involved functions

f; F; x(t); y(t) are dierentiable (and continuous) in M and
1. in implicit representation, the partial derivatives of F do not simultaneously vanish in M (x0 ; y0 ) :
2

## (Fx0 (x0 ; y0 )) + Fy0 (x0 ; y0 )

> 0;

dx
dy
2. in parametric representation 3), the derivatives
(t0 ) and
(t0 ) do not
dt
dt
simultaneously vanish, where t0 is the value of the parameter t corresponding to M (x0 ; y0 ):
An arc of a curve which consists only of regular points is called a regular
arc.
In the neighborhood of a regular point one can always pass between the
representations 1),2) and 3).
If at some point M; the function which describe the curve are dierentiable
of a certain class p 1; we say that the curve is of class p at that point.
A point of the curve which is not regular is called a singular point. Intuitively, singular points M can be points where the functions which appear
are not continuous (the curve "breaks" at M ), or points where the curve has
an "angle" (which usually corresponds to the situation when the involved functions are continuous, but not dierentiable, or x0 (t) = y 0 (t) = 0), or "multiple
points", through which the curve passes more than once).

1.1

## Arc length of a plane curve

_

Let (C) be given in explicit representation (C) : y = f (x) and AB a regular arc
of (C):
_

The length of the arc AB is dened as the limiting case of the length of a
_

polygonal line with n sides inscribed in AB; and which connects A and B.

g. 1.2
This polygonal line is chosen such that the length of its greatest side tends to
0, when n tends to innity. The length Ln of such a polygonal line is computed
_

## by Pitagoras theorem. If AB is a regular arc, then it can be shown that this

limit always exists.
Theorem 1

## 1. If (C) is given in explicit representation

y = f (x) ; x 2 [xA ; xB ]

(a; b) ;

(1)

## then the length of the regular arc AB is

L_ =
AB

x
ZB q

1 + (f 0 (x)) dx:

(2)

xA

## Let now (C) be also given in parametric representation x = x(t); y = y(t):

Then, the dependence of y on t is given by
y(t) = f (x(t)) )

dy
df dx
dx
=
= f 0 (x) :
dt
dx dt
dt

y_ =

dy
dx
; x_ =
:
dt
dt

## With these notations, we get

y_
:
x_
By replacing into the formula of the arc length (2), we get
f 0 (x) =

## Theorem 2 if the arc AB of (C) is parametrically represented by

x = x (t)
y = y (t)
then its length is

t 2 [tA ; tB ]

(t1 ; t2 ) ;

tB q
Z
2
2
=
x (t) + y (t)dt;

L_

AB

(3)

(4)

tA

where
x =

dx
dy
:
; y_ =
dt
dt

## An alternative expression is obtained in dierentials. If we take into account

that
dx = xdt;
_
dy = ydt;
_
then the formula of the arc length can be also written as
L_

AB

tB
Z
p
dx2 + dy 2 :
=
tA

The integrand
ds =

x (t) + y (t)dt =
3

dx2 + dy 2

## or, in explicit representation,

ds =

p
1 + (f 0 (x))2 dx

is called the element of arc length of the curve (C): With this notation, the
_

## length of the arc AB is expressed as:

L

AB

ds:

AB

Rt
The function s = ds (which measures the length of the curve between some
t0

starting point t0 and the current point t) can be used as a parameter on the
curve, called the natural parameter.
p
Intuitively, the element of arc length ds = dx2 + dy 2 measures the length
of a small (innitesimal) arc of the curve, which can be approximated with the
length of a line segment.

## the element of arc length

p
Exercise 3 Compute the element of arc length ds = x_ 2 + y_ 2 dt for the cycloid:
x = a(t sin t); y = a(1 cos t); t 2 R
and the length of its arc between the points corresponding to t = 0 and t = 2 :

1.2

## Contact between two intersecting curves

Given two curves that intersect at some point P; the notion of contact gives
information about how close to each other the two curves pass in a neighborhood
of the intersection point.
Let us suppose that the functions which dene the curves are of class n +
1; n 0:
4

Denition 4 Let (C) and (C 0 ) be two curves which intersect at some point P:
We say that (C) and (C 0 ) have an (n + 1)-point contact (or, equivalently, a
contact of order n), if they have at P (n + 1) confounded common points.
In order to establish the order of the contact, the algorithm is the following:
we write the system of equations which gives the intersection of (C) and (C 0 ):
By eliminating all the unknowns except one, we shall be led to some relation
(x) = 0; (y) = 0 or (t) = 0. If the value of the unknown corresponding to
the common point P is a multiple root of order (n + 1) of ; then at the point
P we have an (n + 1)-point contact.
Let us consider, for instance, the case when the two curves are given in
explicit representation:
(C) : y = f1 (x); (C 0 ) : y = f2 (x)
and let P (x0 ; y0 ) be a common point.
The intersection of (C) and (C 0 ) is given by:
y = f1 (x)
:
y = f2 (x)
By subtracting the two equations, y is eliminated and we get:
(x)

f1 (x)

f2 (x) = 0:

## At the point P we have an (n + 1)-point contact, or an n-th order contact, if

and only if x0 is a multiple root of order (n + 1) of ; this is, i:
(x0 )

## (x0 ) = 00 (x0 ):::: =

(n+1)
(x0 ) 6= 0:

(n)

(x0 ) = 0;

Actually, when we say "n-th order contact", n refers to the last derivative
of which vanishes at x0 ; while the expression "n + 1-point contact" refers to
the number of common points which are confounded at P:
Also, if we have
(C) : F (x; y) = 0; (C 0 ) : x = x(t); y = y(t);
and the common point P (x0 ; y0 ) corresponds to the value t0 of the parameter
on (C 0 ); then, the system which characterizes the intersection between the two
curves is
F (x; y) = 0
:
x = x(t); y = y(t)
We get
(t)

F (x(t); y(t)) = 0:

## Then, (n + 1)-point contact at P means

0
(t0 ) =
(t0 ) =
(n+1)
(t0 ) =
6
0:

00

(t0 ):::: =

(n)

(t0 ) = 0;

Exercise 5 Find the order of the contact at the point P (0; 1); between the curves
(C) : y = ex and:
(C 0 ) : y = 1 + x;
(C 0 ) : y = 1 + x +

x2
;
2

(C 0 ) : y = 1 + x +

x2
x3
xn
+
+ ::: +
;n
2
6
n!

3:

## Tangent and normal line at a regular point

The tangent line to a curve (C) at a point P 2 (C) is dened as the limit
position of a secant line P P 0 ; when P 0 tends to P: In other words, the tangent
line is the straight line which has at least a 2-point contact with the curve at a
given point.
In order to write down the equation of a line in plane, one needs a point
M (x0 ; y0 ) on the line and its slope m: Then, the equation of the line is
y

y0 = m(x

x0 ):

This is, once we know a regular point M (x0 ; y0 ) of a curve (C); we only need
the slopes of the tangent and of the normal line.
1. If (C) : y = f (x) is given in explicit representation, then, as known,
from high school, the slope of the tangent line at M is
mtg = f 0 (x0 ):
The normal line is dened as the perpendicular at M to the tangent line,
hence, its slope is
mN =

1
) mN =
mtg

1
:
f 0 (x0 )

## 2. If (C) : F (x; y) = 0 is given in implicit representation, then (according

to the Math Analysis), in a neighborhood of the regular point M; it is
Fx0
dened y = f (x); and its derivative at x0 is f 0 (x0 ) =
j(x ;y ) : Hence,
Fy0 0 0
mtg =

Fx0
j(x ;y ) ;
Fy0 0 0

mN =

Fy0
j(x ;y ) :
Fx0 0 0

Since at a regular point, Fx0 and Fy0 do not simultaneously vanish, these two
lines are always well determined (the situation with vanishing denominator
corresponds to a vertical line, formally, m = 1).
3. In parametric representation, (C) : x = x(t); y = y(t); as shown
above, by passing to the explicit representation y(t) = f (x(t)); we get
dy
dx
y(t)
_
= f 0 (x) ; this is, f 0 (x) =
: Then, at the point P corresponding
dt
dt
x(t)
_
to the value t0 of the parameter, we have
mtg =

y(t
_ 0)
) mN =
x(t
_ 0)

x(t
_ 0)
:
y(t
_ 0)

## Proposition 1 Two curves (C) and (C 0 ) have at least a 2-point contact (a

contact of order at least 1) at a common point P if and only if they have the
same tangent line at P:
1

Exercise 2 Write the equations of the tangent and of the normal lines of the
following curves
1. (C) : y = ex at P (x0 = 0);
2. (C) : x2=3 + y 2=3

1
1
1 = 0 (the astroid), at P ( p ; p ):
2 2 2 2

the astroid
3. the ellipse (C) : x = 2 cos t; y = sin t; at A(t0 = 0) and at B(0; 1):
Exercise 3 Prove Proposition (1) for the curves (C) : y = f1 (x) and (C 0 ) : y =
f2 (x); at the common point P (x0 ; y0 ):

## Osculating circle; curvature and radius of curvature

Let
(C) : x = x(t); y = y(t)
be a parametrized curve of class at least 2, and P (x0 ; y0 ) 2 (C) a regular point,
corresponding to some value t0 of the parameter.
We are looking for a circle that has contact of maximal order with (C) at
the point P (which best approximates the curve on a neighborhood of P ). In
order to uniquely dene a circle, on needs three non-collinear points. So, we
might expect that (C) should have at P (at least) a 3-point contact with a given
circle ( ):
Denition 4 The osculating circle (or the circle of curvature) of the curve
(C) at the point P 2 (C) (if it exists) is the circle which has at least a 3-point
contact with (C) at the point P:

## osculating circles of a plane curve

Note: The term "osculating" comes from the Latin "osculate", which means
"to kiss"; intuitively, the osculating circle "kisses" the curve (C) at the contact
point.
In order to deduce the equation of a circle, one needs the coordinates of its
center !(a; b) and its radius Rc ; once we know these, its equation is:
( ) : (x

a)2 + (y

b)2

Rc2 = 0:

The conditions of 3-point contact (at least) between (C) and ( ) at P (x0 ; y0 ) \$
t0 are obtained from
(t)

## (x a)2 + (y b)2 Rc2 )

)
(t0 ) = 0 (t0 ) = 00 (t0 ) = 0:

By performing all computations, one can prove that the coordinates a; b of the
center and the radius Rc are given by
a = x0
Rc

y(
_ x_ 2 + y_ 2 )

x_ y xy_
2
(x_ + y_ 2 )3=2
jt0 :
x_ y xy_

jt0 ; b = y0 +

x(
_ x_ 2 + y_ 2 )
x_ y

xy_

jt0

where the notation jt0 means that all the involved derivatives are calculated at
t = t0 :
Remark 5 At the points P where the denominator x_ y xy_ vanishes, the curve
has no osculating circle. Such points are called inection points of the curve.
Intuitively, the bigger the radius Rc ; the less the curve is "bent" at P and
conversely: the smaller Rc ; the more is (C) bent at P: This "bending" of a curve
is seized in the mathematical notion of curvature.

## Denition 6 The number

K=

x_ y xy_
jt
(x_ 2 + y_ 2 )3=2 0

## is called the curvature of (C) at the point P (t = t0 ); and the number

R=

(x_ 2 + y_ 2 )3=2
1
=
jt0
K
x_ y xy_

## Remark 7 The radius of curvature R is actually the radius of the osculating

circle, taken with a plus or a minus sign:
jRj = Rc :
This sign tells "on which side" of the curve the osculating circle is located.
A change of the sign of R (equivalently, of the curvature K) means that the
osculating circle passes on the other side of the curve. The points at which the
curvature vanishes are precisely the inection points of the curve.
Remark 8 The centers of all osculating circles of the curve (C) describe a
curve called the evolute of (C):
Remark 9 If two curves have at a common point at least a 3-point contact,
then at that point, they have the same osculating circle and the same curvature.
Example: Find the osculating circle and the curvature of the parabola
(C) : y = x2 at the point A(0; 0):
The osculating circle ( ) : (x a)2 + (y b)2 Rc2 = 0 has at least a 3-point
contact with (C) at A:
By intersecting (C) with ( ), we get
(x)

(x

a)2 + (x2

b)2

## the conditions of 3-point contact at A(x = 0) are

which is:
(0)
0
00

this is,

(x)jx=0
(x)jx=0

Rc2 ;
(0) =

(0) =

a2 + b2 Rc2 = 0
2(x a) + 2(x2 b) 2x jx=0 = 0
2 + 12x2 4bjx=0 = 0;
8 2
< a + b2 Rc2 = 0
2a = 0
:
2 4b = 0;
4

00

(0) = 0;

1
1
which leads to a = 0; b = ; Rc = : Obviously, then, the curvature must be 2
2
2
or -2.
In order to compute the curvature, we need a parametric representation of
the curve. The simplest choice is by setting t as one of the coordinates x or y;
for instance:
x = t
y = t2 :
The point A(x = 0; y = 0) is obtained for t0 = 0: Then, x_ = 1; x
= 0;
y_ = 2tjt0 =0 = 0; y = 2; and we get, at the point A
x_ y

xy_ = 2; x_ 2 + y_ 2 = 1:

K=

x_ y xy_
2
= = 2;
1
(x_ 2 + y_ 2 )3=2

## and the radius of curvature is R =

1
1
= :
K
2

1
of the circle (C) : x =
K
r cos t; y = r sin t; t 2 [0; 2 ] at an arbitrary point A(t = t0 ) coincides with
its radius r: Equivalently: the curvature of a circle is a constant, namely, the
1
inverse of its radius, K = :
r
Exercise 11 Show that the curvature of the straight line (d) : y = mx + n at
any of its points is 0 (all points of a line are inection points).
Exercise 10 Show that the radius of curvature R =

Exercise 12 Determine the osculating circle, the curvature and the radius of
curvature of the ellipse
x = 2 cos t; y = sin t
at the point A(0; 1):
Exercise 13 For a curve (C) given in explicit representation y = f (x); show
that:
1. inection points A(x = x0 ) are characterized by f 00 (x0 ) = 0:
2. the curvature K at an arbitrary point P (x; y) is given by
K=

f 00 (x)
:
[1 + (f 0 (x))2 )]3=2

## 3. There holds the equivalence: f is convex at P (this is, f 00 (x) 0) if and

only if the curvature of (C) at P is positive; f is concave at P if and only
if its graph (C) has negative curvature at P:
(Hint: choose t = x as a parameter).

## Basically, in order to uniquely determine a plane in space, one needs either: a

point in the plane and two non-collinear vectors which are parallel to the plane
(or contained in it, which is the same, taking into account that we are talking
about free vectors), or a point in the plane and a perpendicular (normal ) vector
to the plane.
Let fO; {; j; kg denote a Cartesian frame in space.

1.1

## Let ( ) be the plane which contains:

the point M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 );
the non-collinear vectors v1 (l1 ; m1 ; n1 ) and v2 (l2 ; m2 ; n2 ) (we will say, two
directions, since it is only the direction of each of the two vectors which
matters).

## Suppose that M; v1 and v2 are known. If P (x; y; z) is an arbitrary (moving)

point in this plane, then the vectors
M P (x

x0 ; y

y0 ; z

z0 ); v1 (l1 ; m1 ; n1 ); v2 (l2 ; m2 ; n2 )

are coplanar. This is equivalent to the fact that the box product of these three
vectors vanishes, which is:
x

x0
l1
l2

y0
m1
m2

z0
n1
n2

= 0:

(1)

## (the equation of the plane through M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ); containing v1 and v2 ).

Another way of expressing the fact that M P ; v1 and v2 are coplanar is to
write that they are linearly dependent:
M P = v1 + v2 ;
1

2 R:

## In Cartesian coordinates, this is equivalent to:

8
< x = x0 + l1 + l2
y = y0 + m 1 + m2
:
z = z0 + n 1 + n 2

## Particular case: the equation of a plane through three non-collinear

points Mi (xi ; yi ; zi ); i = 1; 2; 3 :
Once we know three non-collinear points in a plane, we know two directions,
for instance,
M1 M2 (x2

x1 ; y2

y1 ; z 2

z1 ); M1 M3 (x3

x1 ; y3

y1 ; z 3

z1 ):

By using the point M1 and these two directions, we can write the equation of
the plane (M1 M2 M3 ) :
(M1 M2 M3 ) :

x
x2
x3

x1
x1
x1

y
y2
y3

y1
y1
y1

z
z2
z3

z1
z1
z1

= 0:

## Exercise 1 Write the equation of the plane:

1. containing M (1; 1; 0) and the vectors v1 (1; 2; 3); v2 (0; 1; 2);
2. through the points M1 (1; 0; 1); M2 (2; 0; 1); M3 (2; 1; 2):
3. containing the z-axis and the point M (1; 3; 2):

1.2

## The plane through a point, having a given normal

direction

Let M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) be a known point in a plane ( ) and N (A; B; C) a perpendicular (normal) vector to the plane. Then, for any point P (x; y; z) in the plane,
the vector N is perpendicular to M P ; which is equivalent to the fact that the
dot product N M P is 0. In coordinates, this yields:
A(x

x0 ) + B(y

y0 ) + C(z

z0 ) = 0:

(2)

The above equation is called the equation of the plane through M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 );
with normal direction N (A; B; C): By doing the calculations in (2), we always get something like:
Ax + By + Cz + D = 0;

(3)

which is called the general equation of the plane. This name is motivated by
the fact that, no matter if we start from (1) or (2), the equation of a plane always
looks like above. Conversely, any equation of degree 1 in x; y; z geometrically
means a plane in three dimensional Euclidean space.
Example: the coordinate planes xOy; yOz; xOz:
The plane xOy contains the point O(0; 0; 0) and has as normal vector k(0; 0; 1):
Hence, its equation is: (xOy) : 0(x 0) + 0(y 0) + 1(z 0) = 0; which is,
(xOy) : z = 0:
In a similar manner, we get
(yOz) : x = 0;

(xOz) : y = 0:

Remark 2 The coe cients of x; y and z in the general equation of a plane give
exactly the coordinates of the normal vector of the plane. For instance, the plane
x + 3y z + 5 = 0 has as normal vector N (1; 3; 1) etc.
Remark 3 Since two parallel planes have the same normal direction, the equation of any plane which is parallel to the plane ( ) : Ax + By + Cz + D = 0
di ers from that of ( ) only by its free term: Ax + By + Cz + D = ; for some
2 R:
Exercise 4 Write the equation of the plane:
1. through A(1; 2; 1) and having as normal vector N (2; 3; 4):
2. through A(2; 3; 5) and parallel to the plane (M1 M2 M3 ); where M1 (1; 0; 0);
M2 (0; 1; 0); M3 (0; 0; 1).
3. through A(x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) and parallel to the plane: a) xOy; b) yOz; c)xOz:
3

1.3

## Basically, a straight line (briey: a line) is uniquely dened by the intersection

of two non-parallel and distinct planes. This is, it can be described by a linear
system as follows:
A1 x + B1 y + C1 z + D1 = 0
:
A2 x + B2 y + C2 z + D2 = 0

(d) :

## Another way of describing a line in space is by specifying a point M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 )

on the line and a vector v(l; m; n) which is parallel to the line (or contained in
it).
In this case, for any point P (x; y; z); the vector M P (x x0 ; y y0 ; z z0 )
is collinear to v(l; m; n); which is equivalent to the fact that the components of
the two vectors are proportional:
x

x0
l

y0
z z0
=
=: t
m
n

(4)

## (the canonical equations of a line in space).

Remark 5 The canonical equations provide useful information about the line:
namely, the denominators l; m; n are exactly the components of the directing
vector v of the line, while the quantities subtracted from x; y and z in the numerators give the coordinates of some point on the line. For instance, the line
x

1
1

3
2

z+1
4

has the directing vector v(1; 2; 4) and a point on the line is M (1; 3; 1)
If, in (4), we denote the common value of the ratios by t we get
8
< x = x0 + lt
y = y0 + mt
:
z = z0 + nt

(5)

## (the parametric equations of a line).

Parametric equations are very useful in Mechanics (in this case, the parameter t usually denotes time).
Examples:

1. The equations of the axes Ox; Oy; Oz : For instance, on (Ox) we know
the point O(0; 0; 0) and the vector {(1; 0; 0); hence, the canonical equations
are
y 0
z 0
0
=
=
=t
1
0
0
It is admitted to formally write 0 in the denominators! This does not
mean that we perform any division by 0, it is just a simpler way of writing
the fact that the numerators and the denominators are proportional. The
meaning of this can be more clearly seen from the parametric equations:
(Ox) :

x
y
z

0 = 1 t=t
0 = 0 t=0
0 = 0 t = 0:

## Actually, 0 in a denominator means that also the corresponding numerator

is 0.
The line (Ox) can be also described as the intersection of the planes (xOy)
and (xOz) :
y=0
(Ox) :
:
z=0
The equations of the axes Oy and Oz can be obtained in a similar manner.
2. Let (d) be a line described as the intersection of two planes
x y=0
x + 2z = 1:

(d) :

## Let us determine the canonical equations of this line.

First of all, let us notice that the two planes ( 1 ) : x y = 0 and ( 2 ) :
x + 2z = 1 indeed determine a line: since their normal vectors N1 (1; 1; 0)
and N2 (1; 0; 2) are non-collinear, the planes can neither be parallel, nor
coincide, hence their intersection is a line.
The vector of this line is contained both in ( 1 ) and ( 2 ); consequently,
it is perpendicular to N1 and N2 : This means, it is collinear to the cross
product N1 N2 : Since we are interested only in its direction, we can take
as directing vector of the line
v = N1

N2 =

{
1
1

j k
1 0
0 2

2{

2j + k:

A point on the line can be obtained from any particular solution of the
linear system which describes (d): This can be performed by giving particular values to one of the unknowns. Let us take, for instance, x = 1:
We obtain y = 1; z = 0; this is, M (1; 1; 0):
5

x

1
2

1
z
= :
2
1

## Also, a useful notion is that of sheaf of planes. If a straight line (d) is

described as the intersection of two planes (P ) and (Q) :
P
Q

(d) :

A1 x + B1 y + C1 z + D1 = 0
;
A2 x + B2 y + C2 z + D2 = 0

then the sheaf of planes through (d) (or determined by (P ) and (Q))
is the set of all planes which contain (d): Its equation is
P + Q = 0;
Equivalently, with

2 R:

## ; this can be written simply as

P + Q = 0;

2 R:

(the last form is simpler, still, it requires some attention: there we have
eliminated the case = 0; this is, the plane Q: This is, in any discussion
involving the planes of the sheaf, we should take separately the case when
the plane is Q).

## Exercise 6 Write the canonical and the parametric equations of:

- the line through A(1; 3; 4); having the directing vector v(2; 0; 1);
- the line AB; where A(2; 1; 2); B(0; 3; 1);
x 1
y
z+1
- the line which is parallel to (d) :
=
=
and passes through
1
1
4
A(4; 3; 2);
- the intersection line of the planes (P ) : x + y = 3; (Q) : x y + z = 0:

## A quadric is a set of points in space whose coordinates (x; y; z) are related by

a second degree equation:
a11 x2 +a22 y 2 +a33 z 2 +2a12 xy+2a13 xz+2a23 yz+2a14 x+2a24 y+2a34 z+a44 = 0:

1.1

The Sphere

The sphere is dened as the locus of points in space situated at the same distance
R > 0 (called the radius) from a xed point !(a; b; c); called center.
Let P (x; y; z) denote an arbitrary point of the sphere.
The fact that the distance !P is always R is written, after eliminating
the square root:
(x a)2 + (y b)2 + (z c)2 = R2
(1)
(the equation of the sphere with center !(a; b; c) and radius R). Hence,
the sphere is a quadric.

## If we perform the computations in the above equation, we obtain a relation

of type:
x2 + y 2 + z 2 + mx + ny + pz + q = 0;
(2)
(where m = 2a; n = 2b; p = 2c; q = a2 + b2 + c2 R2 ), which is called the
general equation of a sphere.
This is, any equation of a sphere looks like above. The converse is not true,
this is, not any equation of type (2) is the equation of a sphere. This can be
checked by bringing the equation (2) to the form (1).
Examples:

1. The equation x2 + y 2 + z 2
(x2

2x + 1)

2x + 4y

## 4 = 0 can be written as:

1 + (y 2 + 4y + 4)

4 + z2

4 = 0;

this is
(x

1)2 + (y + 2)2 + z 2 = 9:

## Hence, it represents the sphere of center !(1; 2; 0) and radius R = 3:

2. The equation: x2 + y 2 + z 2 2x + 4y + 6 = 0 becomes, after grouping the
squares
(x 1)2 + (y + 2)2 + z 2 = 1;
this is, it cannot represent a sphere, since R2 =

## Another way of describing the sphere of center !(a; b; c) and radius R is by

its parametric equations:
8
< x = a + R cos sin
y = b + R sin sin
:
:
z = c + R cos :

In particular, for the sphere having as center the origin O(0; 0; 0) and radius R;
we get:
8
< x = R cos sin
y = R sin sin
:
z = R cos :

The quantities (R; ; ) are called the spherical coordinates of the point
P (x; y; z):
The tangent plane to the sphere
(S) : x2 + y 2 + z 2 + mx + ny + pz + q = 0;

(3)

## at one of its points P (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) 2 (S); has the equation:

xx0 + yy0 + zz0 + m

x + x0
y + y0
z + z0
+n
+p
+ q = 0:
2
2
2

Exercise 1
1. Find out if the following equations represent spheres. If so,
indicate the center and the radius:
(a) x2 + y 2 + z 2
2

(b) x + y + z

2x + 4y + 4 = 0;
2x + 4y + 6 = 0;

(c) x + y + 4x + 2y + 1 = 0:
2. Determine the sphere which passes through points A(1; 0; 0); B(0; 2; 0);
C(0; 0; 3) and O(0; 0; 0):
2

## 3. Let (S) : (x 3)2 + (y 1)2 + z 2 = 25 and (P ) be the plane of equation:

(P ) : x + y + z = ; 2 R:
(a) For = 0; prove that the intersection between the sphere (S) and P0
is a circle, and determine the center and the radius of this circle.
(b) Find

## 2 R such that the plane (P ) is tangent to the sphere.

4. Determine the equation of the sphere with center on the Ox axis which
y+3
z
x 1
passes through A(1; 2; 3) and is tangent to the line:
=
=
:
2
4
1

1.2
1.2.1

## Reduced canonical equations of other quadrics

The ellipsoid

x2
y2
z2
+
+
= 1:
a2
b2
c2

I
The numbers a; b; c > 0 are called the semi-axes of the ellipsoid.
Intersections with parallel planes to the planes of coordinates are ellipses,
points or the empty set. In order to convince ourselves,lets take, for instance,
2
x2
y2
planes which are parallel to (xOy); this is, z = : we get 2 + 2 = 1
;
a
b
c2
which is: an ellipse, if 2 ( c; c); a point, if = c and the empty set if
2 R n [ c; c]:
If the ellipsoid has two equal semi-axes, then it is called a spheroid; if all
its semi-axes are equal, then it is a sphere.

1.2.2

## The hyperboloid of one sheet

x2
y2
+ 2
2
a
b

z2
=1
c2

Its intersections with horizontal planes z = are ellipses, while the intersections with planes y = const: and x = const: are hyperbolas.
The one-sheeted hyperboloid has an interesting property: it is a doubly
ruled surface, this is, such a shape can be built only from rectilinear beams,
and this can be performed in two ways (this is why we say it is "doubly" ruled).
These beams are called the rulings (rectilinear generatrices) of the hyperboloid.
In order to obtain the equations of its rulings, let us write the equation of
the hyperboloid this way:
x2
z2
y2
=
1
;
a2
c2
b2
and factor the dierences of squares:
x z
x z
y
y
+
= 1+
1
:
a
c
a
c
b
b
Then,
8 x z
y
<
+ =
1+
a
c
by ;
(G ) :
x z
:
=1
a
c
b
represents a family of straight lines which are entirely situated on the hyperboloid - hence, they are rectilinear generatrices for this surface.
We can also group the terms with opposite signs:
8 x z
y
<
+ =
1
a
c
by ;
(G ) :
x z
:
=1+
a
c
b
which leads to another family of rulings of the one-sheeted hyperboloid.
We should mention several properties of the lines (G ) and (G ) :
4

## Through each point M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) of the hyperboloid there is exactly one

generatrix (G ) and one generatrix (G ):
Rulings (G ) obtained for dierent values of do not intersect each other
(they are skew lines). The same holds true about rulings (G ):
A notable use of one-sheeted hyperboloids is in cooling towers of power
stations. Such a shape is relatively easy to build and very resistant.
1.2.3

y2
x2
+
a2
b2

z2
=
c2

## Sections with planes parallel to (xOy); this is, with z =

= const:; are
ellipses, for j j > c; a point for = c and the empty set for j j < c: Sections
with planes y = const: and x = const: are hyperbolas.
1.2.4

## The elliptic paraboloid z =

y2
x2
+
a2
b2

Sections with planes z = const: are ellipses, while sections with y = const:
and x = const: are parabolas.

1.2.5

## The hyperbolic paraboloid (the "saddle") z =

x2
a2

y2
b2

Sections with z = (const.) are hyperbolas, with the exception of the plane
xOy; where the section consists of two intersecting lines (prove this!). Sections
with x = const: and y = const: provide parabolas.
The hyperbolic paraboloid is also a doubly ruled surface. Its rulings are
x y
x y
+
obtained by factoring the right hand side of the equation: z =
a
b
a
b
and then grouping terms of degree 1:
8
8
x y
x y
<
<
+
=z
=z
a
b
a yb
; (G ) :
:
(G ) :
x
y
x
:
:
=
+ =
a
b
a
b
Properties:

Through any point of the hyperbolic paraboloid there passes exactly one
ruling (generatrix) (G ) and exactly one ruling (G ):
Dierent rulings belonging to the same family do not intersect each other
(they are skew lines).

1.2.6

x2
y2
+ 2
2
a
b

z2
=0
c2

circular cone.
1.2.7

Cylinders

x2
y2
+
=1:
a2
b2

y2
=1:
b2

x2
a2

## C. The parabolic cylinder y 2 = 2px :

x2
+ y2
4
A(2; 0; 0): Determine the angle between these rulings.
Exercise 2 Find the rulings of the hyperboloid

x2
Exercise 3 Find the rulings of the hyperbolic paraboloid
4
are parallel to the plane x + y + z = 3:

z2
= 1 through
9

y 2 = z; which

Space curves

1.1

Representations

## A space curve is described by:

F (x; y; z) = 0
(as the intersection of two surfaces) or
G(x; y; z) = 0

1.

8
< x = x(t)
y = y(t) ; t 2 [a; b] 2 R (parametric representation), which is also
2.
:
z = z(t)
met in vectorial variant:
OM

## where OM is the position vector of the arbitrary point M of the curve.

A point M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) of a curve (C) is called regular if the involved functions F; G; x(t); y(t); z(t) are dierentiable (and continuous) in M and
1. in implicit representation, the Jacobian of F and G does not vanish at
M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) :
Fx0
G0x

Fy0
G0y

Fz0
G0z

6= 0 at (x0 ; y0 ; z0 );

dy
dz
dx
2. in parametric representation 3), the derivatives
(t0 ), (t0 ) and
(t0 )
dt
dt
dt
do not simultaneously vanish, where t0 is the value of the parameter t
corresponding to M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ):
An arc of a curve which consists only of regular points is called a regular
arc. If at a point M; the functions which describe the curve are dierentiable
of a certain class p 1; we say that the curve is of class p at that point.
In the neighborhood of a regular point one can always pass between the
representations 1) and 2).

1.2

## Let (C) be given in parametric representation

r(t) = x(t){ + y(t)j + z(t)k
_

## and AB denote a regular arc of (C); corresponding to t 2 [tA ; tB ]:

_

The length of the arc AB is dened in the same way as for plane curves, this
is, as the limiting case of the length of a polygonal line with n sides inscribed
_

in AB, chosen such that the length of its greatest side tends to 0, when n tends
_

to innity. If AB is a regular arc, then it can be shown that its arc length is
well dened (=it uniquely exists).
1

## Theorem 1 if the arc AB of (C) is parametrically represented by

8
< x = x (t)
y = y (t) t 2 [tA ; tB ] ;
:
z = z(t)

(1)

## then its length is

tB
Z
p
=
x_ 2 (t) + y_ 2 (t) + z_ 2 (t)dt;

L_

AB

(2)

tA

x_ =

dy
dz
dx
; y_ =
; z_ =
:
dt
dt
dt

## In dierentials, we have dx = xdt;

_
dy = ydt;
_
dz = zdt;
_
hence, the formula
of the arc length can be also written as
L

AB

tB
Z
p
=
dx2 + dy 2 + dz 2 :
tA

The integrand
ds =

p
p
x_ 2 (t) + y_ 2 (t) + z_ 2 (t)dt = dx2 + dy 2 + dz 2

is called the element of arc length of the curve (C): With this notation, the
_

## length of the arc AB is expressed as:

L_ =
AB

ds:

AB

Rt
The function s = ds (which measures the length of the curve between some
t0

starting point t0 and the current point t) can be used as a parameter on the
curve, called the natural parameter.
p
The element of arc length ds = dx2 + dy 2 + dz 2 measures the length of
a small (innitesimal) arc of the curve, which, in theory, is approximated with
the length of a line segment.

1.3

## The TNB Frame (The Frenet Frame)

The TNB-frame (also known as the Frenet Frame), was discovered by Jean
Frederic Frenet (1816-1900). It is an orthonormal frame, moving along the curve.
The initials "TNB" come from the vectors which constitute the frame, namely:
the unit tangent vector ; the unit normal vector (or, more rigorously, the
unit principal normal vector) ; and the unit binormal vector :
2

Let us describe in the following, the faces and the edges of this frame. To
this aim, let us recall some basic things about lines and planes in space:
- a line can be uniquely dened by a point M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) and a direction
v(l; m; n); this way:
(line) :

x0
l

y0
z z0
=
:
m
n

- the plane which passes through the point M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) and has as normal
direction N = v(l; m; n); has the equation:
(plane) : l(x

x0 ) + m(y

y0 ) + n(z

z0 ) = 0:

## Let (C) be a curve of class at least 2, given in parametric representation:

r(t) = x(t){ + y(t)j + z(t)k;
and let M (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) be a regular point of the curve, corresponding to the value
t0 of the parameter.
The tangent line (tg) and the normal plane (

N)

## The tangent line at M (t = t0 ) has as directing vector, the tangent vector

(velocity vector, derivative vector), having as Cartesian coordinates,
the derivatives at t0 of the "trajectory" coordinates x; y; z :
r(t0 ) = x(t
_ 0 ){ + y(t
_ 0 )j + z(t
_ 0 )k:

(3)

## Shortly, if we omit the argument t0 , we can write: r(x;

_ y;
_ z):
_ Since M is
a regular point, the tangent vector at M exists and does not vanish. The
equations of the tangent line are:
(tg) :

y y0
z z0
x x0
=
=
x(t
_ 0)
y(t
_ 0)
z(t
_ 0)

## The normal plane ( N ) is dened as the plane through M; which is

perpendicular to the tangent line. Hence, its equation is:
(

N)

: x(t
_ 0 )(x

x0 ) + y(t
_ 0 ) (y

y0 ) + z(t
_ 0 ) (z

## The binormal line (b) and the osculating plane (

z0 ) = 0:
Osc ):

Let us suppose that at the point M; there exists the second derivative
r(t0 ) = x
(t0 ){ + y(t0 )j + z(t0 )k;
(the acceleration vector) and the cross product r(t0 )

## r(t0 ) does not

vanish, this is, the velocity vector r(t0 ) and the acceleration vector r(t0 )
are nonvanishing and non-collinear. Then, the two vectors, together with
3

## the point M; dene a plane, called the osculating plane of (C) at M:

The vector
b(t0 ) = r(t0 )
r(t0 );
(4)
which is actually, the normal vector of the osculating plane, is called the
binormal vector of (C) at M: Let us suppose that, after computing
the cross product, we get for b(t0 ) the coordinates b(l; m; n): Then, the
binormal line has the equations:
(b) :

x0
l

y0
z z0
=
:
m
n

(

Osc )

: l(x

x0 ) + m(y

y0 ) + n(z

z0 ) = 0:

## The (principal) normal line (np ) and the rectifying plane (

R)

The normal line (or the principal normal line) of the curve is dened
as the intersection between the normal plane ( N ) and the osculating plane
( Osc) . This is, it is perpendicular to both the tangent vector and to the
binormal one. Hence, the principal normal vector np can be obtained as
the cross product of the two vectors:
np = b(t0 )

r(t0 );

(5)

which is,
np = r(t0 )
This choice of the order b(t0 )

r(t0 )

r(t0 ):

(6)

b(t0 )) insures

## that the vectors r, np and b constitute a right-handed system at M (the

orientation of b can be obtained by the right hand rule from those of r
and np ).
Consequently, if, by performing computations, we are led to
np (A; B; C);
then, the equations of the principal normal line are
(np ) :

x0
A

y0
B

z0
C

## while the rectifying plane (which is dened as the plane perpendicular

to np at M ) is given by:
(

R)

: A(x

x0 ) + B(y

y0 ) + C(z

z0 ) = 0:

## By (3), (4) and (5)-(6), we get

Theorem 2 The unit vectors of the TNB frame at the point M (t = t0 ) are:
the unit tangent vector

r(t0 )

r(t0 )

## the unit binormal vector

r(t0 )

r(t0 )

r(t0 )

r(t0 )

r(t0 )

r(t0 )

r(t0 )

r(t0 )

r(t0 )

r(t0 )

Example: Find the unit vectors of the TNB (Frenet) frame of the curve
(C) : r(t) = et { + e t j + t2 k at the point M (1; 1; 0):
The point M has the Cartesian coordinates x = 1; y = 1; z = 0; hence
x0
y0
z0

=
=
=

1 = et0
1 = e t0
0 = t20 :
5

## All three relations above yield for M the value t0 = 0:

Further, let us calculate the derivatives of the position vector r at M :
r(t0 )

r(t0 )

(et {

e t j + 2tk)jt0 =0 = {

(e { + e j + 2k)jt0 =0 = { + j + 2k:

This is, r(1; 1; 0); r(1; 1; 2): The unit tangent vector is

r(t0 )

1
) (p ;
2
r(t0 )

1
p ; 0):
2

b = r(t0 )

Then,

r(t0 ) =

b
1
) ( p ;
b
3

{
1
1

j k
1 0
1 2

{
2
1

2{

2j + 2k:

1
1
p ; p ):
3
3

## The principal normal vector is np = b

np =

j k
2 2
1 0

r; this is,
= 2{ + 2j + 4k:

np
1
1
2
) ( p ; p ; p ):
knp k
6
6
6

Exercise 3 Determine the equations of the axes and of the faces of the Frenet
frame for the following curves:
1. r(t) = cos t { + sin t j + tk at A(t0 =

):

1.4

## Curvature and torsion

Let now (C) : r(t) = x(t){ + y(t)j + z(t)k be a curve of class at least 3, and
M (t = t0 ) a regular point with r r 6= 0 (this is, such that the TNB frame
exists at M ).
The curvature of (C) at the point M (t = t0 ) is a number which measures
the "deviation" of the curve from its tangent line in a neighborhood of M: It is
given by:
r r
K(t0 ) =
3 jt0 :
r
A point at which the curvature vanishes (this is, r r = 0) is called an
inection point of the curve. At inection points, there is no TNB frame.
6

## (!) Do not confound this formula with that of the curvature of

a plane curve! The curvature of a space curve, as dened above, is always
nonnegative. On the contrary, for plane curves, the curvature can have a minus
sign.
Proposition 4 For straight lines, the curvature is 0 at each point.(a straight
line consists only of inection points). Conversely, if the curvature of a curve
is 0 at each point, then the curve is a straight line.
This is easy to see, if we take into account that a straight line is described
parametrically by:
x = x0 + lt; y = y0 + mt; z = z0 + nt;
where x0 ; y0 ; z0 ; l; m; n are constants. Then, we get r(l; m; n); r = 0; which
leads to K = 0:
The torsion of the space curve (C) at a regular point M (t = t0 ) is a
number which indicates how much the curves deviates from a plane (namely,
from the osculating plane at M ) in a neighborhood of M: It is given by the
formula:
r ;r ;r
(t0 ) =
2 jt0 :
r r
Proposition 5 For plane curves, the torsion is identically 0. Conversely, if
the torsion identically vanishes, then the curve is contained in a plane.
A space curve which is contained in no plane is called a skew curve.
The sign of the torsion provides information about the side of the osculating
plane in which the curve "bends" around M: Namely:
if > 0 at M; then, in a neighborhood of M; the curve "bends" on the
side indicated by the binormal vector b;
if < 0 at M; then, in a neighborhood of M; the curve "bends" on the
opposite side of b;
if changes the sign at M; then the curve "pierces" the osculating plane
at M:
Exercise 6 Calculate the curvature and the torsion of the curve (C) : r(t) =
et { + e t j + t2 k at point M (1; 1; 0):
Exercise 7 Find the curvature and the torsion of the curve (C) : r(t) =
a cos t{ + a sin tj + btk (where a; b 2 R are constants) at an arbitrary point.

Exercise 8 Show that for plane curves (C) : r(t) = x(t){ + y(t)j + 0k (in the
r
plane xOy), the formula of the curvature of a space curve Kspace =

jt0
r
gives the absolute value of the curvature of (C) computed by the "plane" formula
x
_y x
y_
Kplane =
:
3=2
2
2
jx_ + y_ j

1
1.1

Representations

## A surface (in a general sense) is a set ( ) of points in Euclidean space whose

position vectors obey an equation of type:
( ) : r(u; v) = x(u; v){ + y(u; v)j + z(u; v)k; (u; v) 2 A

R2 ;

8
< x = x(u; v);
y = y(u; v);
( ):
:
z = z(u; v):

(1)

## This is called the parametric representation of ( ); while u and v are called

the parameters (or the curvilinear coordinates) of the representation.
We shall denote the partial derivatives of r(u; v) by indices, as follows:
r1 =

@r
@2r
@2r
@r
; r2 =
; r11 =
; r12 =
etc.
2
@u
@u
@u
@u@v

## A point of M the surface is called regular, if, at M; r1 and r2 exist and

their cross product is nonzero:
r1

r2 6= 0

(this is, the two vectors are nonvanishing and non-collinear). A point of the
surface which is not regular is called a singular point.
Other description of a surface is
( ) : z = z(x; y);

(2)

## which is called the explicit Cartesian equation. At regular points, z has to

be (continuous and) dierentiable.
Finally, a surface or a fragment of surface can be represented also as:
F (x; y; z) = 0;

(3)

## which is called the implicit Cartesian equation. At regular points, F

has to be dierentiable and to obey the condition:
(Fx0 )2 + (Fx0 )2 + (Fx0 )2 > 0;

(4)

which is, at least one of the partial derivatives Fx0 ; Fy0 ; Fz0 has to be nonvanishing.
1

If the functions which describe the surface are dierentiable of some class
1 at some point, we say that the surface is of class p at that point.
Example: For the elliptic paraboloid z = x2 + y 2 (! explicit representation), we have
p

z = 0:

## a parametric representation is x = u cos v; y = u sin v; z = u2 ; or, in

vectorial form,
~r(u; v) = u cos v~i + u sin v~j + u2~k:

1.2

Curves on a surface

## Let (S) be a surface of class p

1 in the representation
r = r(u; v);

(5)

## and P 2 (S) a regular point. A curve (C) on (S) is dened by establishing a

link between the parameters, for instance:
u = u(t); v = v(t); t 2 A

R;

(6)

or, as well,
v = v(u) or u = u(v) or h(u; v) = 0:

(7)

A peculiar importance have the curves u = u0 (constant) and v = v0 (constant), which are called coordinate curves; they compose a grid, such that
through every point P (u = u0 ; v = v0 ) of (S) there passes exactly a curve of
each family, namely: ( u ) : v = v0 ; (C2 ) : ( v ) : u = u0 :

coordinate curves (

u );

v)

## This is, P represents the intersection point of the coordinate curves v =

v0 and u = u0 ; the situation is similar to that one in the plane xOy; where
2

## M (x0 ; y0 ) lies at the intersection of the straight lines x = x0 and y = y0 ; there,

(x0 ,y0 ) were called rectilinear (or Cartesian) coordinates. This similarity is what
gives us the right to call u and v; curvilinear coordinates on (S):
Let now P denote a point of an arbitrary curve (C) (S); represented as
in (6). This is, along (C); the position vector is r = r(u(t); v(t)): Then, the
tangent vector at P to (C) is
r =

@ r du @ r dv
dr
=
+
= r1 u_ + r2 v;
_
dt
@u dt
@v dt

(8)

@r
@r
; r2 =
: This relation shows that actu@u
@v
ally, the tangent vector r is coplanar with r1 and r2 :
Example: For the coordinate curves, we have: ( u ) : (u = t; v = const:) )
u_ = 1; v_ = 0 and ( v ) : (u = const:; v = t) ) u_ = 0; v_ = 1: This is, the
@r
tangent vectors to the coordinate curves v = const are r1 =
; similarly, the
@u
@r
tangent vectors to the coordinate curves u = const are r2 =
:
@v
If P 2 (S) is a regular point, then, at P; the two vectors r1 and r2 are
nonvanishing and non-collinear )since r1 r2 6= 0). Hence, together with the
point P , they uniquely dene a plane P: Moreover, by (8), we conclude that all
tangent lines to curves through P belong to this plane.
where we used the notations r1 =

## Exercise 1 Describe the coordinate curves of the surface: ~r(u; v) = cos u ~i +

sin u ~j + v~k: Also, nd the implicit Cartesian equation of the surface and recognize it.

1.3

## Denition 2 The tangent plane at a regular point P (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) 2 (S) is the

plane which contains the tangent lines at P of all curves on (S); passing through
P:

## Let us suppose that P corresponds to u = u0 ; v = v0 : As shown above, the

tangent plane is actually the plane which passes through P and contains the
directions r1 and r2 : This is, its equation is:
x x0
@x
(u0 ; v0 )
@u
@x
(u0 ; v0 )
@v

y y0
@y
(u0 ; v0 )
@u
@y
(u0 ; v0 )
@v

z z0
@z
(u0 ; v0 )
@u
@z
(u0 ; v0 )
@v

= 0:

(9)

## The normal line at a regular point P 2 (S) to (S) is the perpendicular

through P to the tangent plane of (S) at P: Since the vectors r1 ; r2 belong to
the tangent plane at P to (S), it follows that the normal vector of the surface
at P is
!
N = (r1 r2 ) j(u0 ;v0 ) :
(10)
The unit surface normal at the point P is:
!
r1
N
!
n = ! =
kr
1
N

r2
:
r2 k

(11)

## Example: Let (S) be the surface x = u cos v; y = u sin v; z = hv (helicoid).

Determine the tangent plane and the normal line at the point A(1; 0; 0):
The point A corresponds to the values u0 = 1; v0 = 0 of the parameters.
We have: ~r1 = cos v~i + sin v~jjA = ~i; ~r2 = u sin v~i + u cos v~j + h~kjA = ~j + h~k:
Then, the tangent plane is described by the equation:
x
1
0

1 y
0
1
4

z
0
h

= 0;

or

## hy + z = 0: The surface normal vector at A is the normal vector of this

~ (0; h; 1); the unit surface normal is ~n 0; p h ; p 1
;
plane, hence N
1 + h2
1 + h2
and the equations of the normal line are:
x

1
0

y
z
= :
h
1

## If (S) is given by in implicit form (3):

F (x; y; z) = 0;
then the equation of the tangent plane to the surface (S) : F (x; y; z) =
0 at a regular point P (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) 2 (S) is:
(x x0 )Fx0 (x0 ; y0 ; z0 )+(y y0 )Fy0 (x0 ; y0 ; z0 )+(z z0 )Fz0 (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) = 0:
(12)
!
The surface normal N ; which is also denoted by gradF (and called
the gradient of F ), is
!
N

## gradF (Fx0 ; Fy0 ; Fz0 )j(x0 ;y0 ;z0 )

(13)

Exercise 3 Find the tangent planes and the corresponding normal lines of the
surfaces
1. (S) : ~r(u; v) = u cos v~i + u sin v~j + u~k; (circular cone) at A(u = 1; v = 0);
2. (S) : x2 + y 2 + z 2 R2 = 0 (the sphere with centre O and radius R) at a
point A(x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) 2 (S);
3. (S) : z = x2

1.4

## First fundamental form. Applications

Let
(S) : ~r = ~r(u; v)

be a surface of class p

## 1; (C) : u = u(t); v = v(t); a curve on (S) and a regular

arc AB of the curve (C); corresponding to the values t 2 [a; b] : A(t = a);
a

## (S): Taking into

account that AB is an arc of a space curve, its arc length is dened by the
Rb
integral
r(t) dt.
a

## We have r = ~r1 u_ + ~r2 v,

_ hence, we obtain
2

## = r r = (r1 r1 )u_ 2 + 2(r1 r2 )u_ u_ 2 + (r2 r2 )v_ 2 :

5

By denoting
2

E = r1 r1 = kr1 k ; F = r1 r2 ; G = r2 r2 = kr2 k ;

(14)

we get:
2

= E u_ 2 + 2F u_ v_ + Gv_ 2 ;

(15)

## We get the formula for the arc length of a curve on (S):

AB

Zb p
=
E u_ 2 + 2F u_ v_ + Gv_ 2 dt:

(16)

Moreover, from (15), we can see that the arc length element of the curve (C)
is
ds2 = Edu2 + 2F dudv + Gdv 2 :

(17)

Denition 4 The di erential quadratic form ds2 in (17) is called the rst
fundamental form of the surface (S):
Other applications of the rst fundamental form are to the calculus of angles
between curves on the surface and areas of regions of ( ):
The angle between two intersecting curves (C) and (C ) on (S);
is, by denition, is the angle between the tangent lines to (C) and (C )
at their common point.
To this aim, let us consider the curves (C) and (C ) given on (S) by
(C) : u = u(t); v = v(t)
(C ) : u = u (t ); v = v (t ):
If P 2 (C1 ) \ (C2 ) is a common point, then, there holds
Proposition 5 The angle
cos

=p

E u_ 2

## between two curves on (S) is given by:

E u_ u_ + F (u_ v_ + u_ v)
_ + Gv_ v_
p
2
2
+ 2F u_ v_ + Gv_ E u_ + 2F u_ v_ + Gv_

(18)

## Example: If (C) are (C ) the coordinate curves u = const: and v = const:;

then u_ = 0; v_ = 0; which means that ~r = ~r2 v_ and ~r = ~r1 u_ : It follows that
the angle between the coordinate curves is
cos

F
~r1 ~r2
;
=p
k~r1 k k~r2 k
EG

(19)

## The area A( ) of a regular fragment ( ) of the surface (S) is

Z Z p
A( ) =
EG F 2 dudv;
(20)
U

where U
R2 is the domain of the values (u; v) corresponding to the
fragment ( ): The expression
p
d = EG F 2 dudv
(21)

is called the area element of the surface (S); and represents the area
of a small (innitesimal) "curvilinear parallelogram" of the surface ( );
determined by two pairs of neighboring coordinate curves.
Example: For the circular cone ~r(u; v) = u cos v~i+u sin v~j +u~k; v 2 [0; 2 );
u 2 R; determine:
a) its rst fundamental form;
b) the length of the curve u = 1 between the points corresponding to v0 = 0
and v1 = ;
c) the angle of the curves u = 1 and u + v = 1;
d) the area of the curvilinear parallelogram built on the curves: u = 1; u = 2;
v = 0; v = :
2

Vector Spaces

Informally speaking, a vector space (or a linear space) is a set of objects (called
vectors) that may be scaled and added according to some rules; these objects
can be numbers, (geometrical) free vectors, matrices, functions etc. The theory
of vector spaces is, in some sense, a "theory of everything", which provides a
powerful tool for other branches of Mathematics, such as: Geometry, Analysis,
Dierential equations.
Let V 6= ? be a non-empty set, and (K; +; ) a commutative eld. Let us
dene two operations:
+:V

V ! V; (u; v) ! u + v;

## (internal operation on V ) which will be called vector addition and

K

:K

V ! V; ( ; v) ! v;

## (external operation) called further, scalar multiplication.

Denition 1 (V; +;

K)

## 1. (V; +) is an Abelian group, this is:

(a) V is closed under vector addition: 8 u; v 2 V : u + v 2 V ;

## (b) vector addition is associative: for all u; v; w 2 V , we have u + (v +

w) = (u + v) + w;
(c) vector addition is commutative: 8v; w 2 V : v + w = w + v;

## (d) vector addition has an identity (a neutral) element: 90 2 V; such that

v + 0 = v, 8v 2 V ;
(e) any element v 2 V admits a symmetric (or an additive inverse)
( v) 2 V such that v + ( v) = 0:

(b)

v) = u + v;

(c)

( + )v = v + v;

(u +

2 K; 8v 2 V :

## (d) scalar multiplication is compatible with multiplication in K ("associativity"): 8 ; 2 K; 8v 2 V : ( v) = ( )v;

(e) the neutral (identity) element 1 2 K is an identity element for scalar
multiplication: 8v 2 V : 1v = v:

The elements u; v; ::: 2 V are called vectors, while the elements ; ; ::: 2 K
are called scalars.
Rules of computation in vector spaces:
1. Scalar multiplication with the zero vector 0 2 V yields the zero vector:
8 2 K : 0 = 0:
2. Scalar multiplication by the scalar 0 2 K yields the zero vector:
8v 2 V : 0v = 0:
3. No other scalar multiplication leads to the zero vector: if
either = 0; or v = 0:

v = 0; then

## 4. The result of scalar multiplication ( 1) is the additive inverse of the vector:

8v 2 V : ( 1)v =

v:

If the eld of scalars K is R; then the vector space is called a real vector
space; if K = C; then V is called a complex vector space.

## Examples of vector spaces

1. Let K = R; and Rn = fx = (x1 ; x2 ; :::; xn ) j xi 2 R; i = 1; ng; the set of
all ordered n-uples of real numbers, and the operations:
x = (x1 ; x2 ; :::; xn ) 2 Rn
! x + y = (x1 + y1 ; x2 + y2 ; :::; xn + yn )
y = (y1 ; y2 ; :::; yn ) 2 Rn
and
x = (x1 ; x2 ; :::; xn ) 2 Rn ! x = ( x1 ; x2 ; :::; xn ):

## Then, (Rn ; +; R ) is a vector space, called the real coordinate space Rn :

This is perhaps the most important example of vector space; especially,
the cases n = 2 and n = 3 are important for Geometry.
2. Let K be a eld and Mm n (K) the space of m n-type matrices with
entries aij 2 K. Then, (Mm n (K); +; K ) is a vector space over K: In
particular, for K = R; (Mm n (R); +; R ) is a real vector space.
3. The set K[X] of all polynomials with coe cients in a eld K is a vector
space over K:

## 4. The set F(I) of all real-valued functions dened over an interval I

R;

F(I) = ff j f : I ! Rg;
with the usual addition and scalar multiplication of functions,
(f + g)(x)
( f )(x)

= f (x) + g(x);
=
f (x); 8x 2 I;

2 R;

## is a real vector space.

5. ("the last, but not the least"), the set E 3 of all free vectors a in space,
with the usual addition (e.g., using the parallelogram rule) and scalar
multiplication is a real vector space.
Exercise 2 Let V = (0; 1) and K = R: We dene the operations:
u; v 2 V ! u v = u v
2 R; v 2 V !
v=v :
Show that (V; ; ) is a vector space over R:

## Subspaces in a vector space

Let (V; +;

K)

be a vector space.

## Denition 3 A non-empty subset S of V is called a subspace in V if S; together

with the operations + and K of the space V; restricted to S, is a vector space.
In order to check that a subset of a vector space is a subspace, one has the
following criterion:
Criterion 4 A non-empty set S of a vector space (V; +;
only if:

K)

is a subspace if and

## 1. for any u; v 2 S; the sum u + v belongs to S and

2. for any scalar

u 2 S:

## The above criterion is equivalent to:

Criterion 5 A non-empty set S of a vector space (V; +; K ) is a subspace if and
only if:
8 ; 2 V; 8u; v 2 S : u + v 2 S:

This is, a subspace is a subset of a vector space which is closed under addition
and scalar multiplication, or, equivalently, under formation of linear combinations.
Examples:
1) Let (V; +; K ) be a vector space. Then f0g and V are subspaces of V:
Let us check the above statement:
For S = f0g; we have: 0 + 0 = 0 2 S and
S = f0g is a subspace.

0 = 0 2 S; 8

2 K: Hence,

## For S = V; there holds: 8 u; v 2 V : u + v 2 V; this is, V is closed under

addition. Also, by the denition of a vector space, V is closed under scalar
multiplication: 8 2 K; 8 u 2 V : u 2 V; which proves the statement.
2) The solutions of any homogeneous linear system with coe cients in R
form a vector space.
Solution: We shall prove that the solutions of a linear system:
8
a11 x1 + a12 x2 + :::: + a1n xn = 0
>
>
<
a21 x1 + a22 x2 + :::: + a2n xn = 0
;
:::
>
>
:
am1 x1 + am2 x2 + :::: + amn xn = 0

## where aij 2 R; i = 1; :::; m; j = 1; :::; n; form a subspace of

In order to simplify the writing, let us denote
0
0
1
a11 a12 ::: a1n
B a21 a22 ::: a2n C
B
B
B
C
A=B .
;
X
=
B
C
.
..
.. A
@ ..
@
.
am1

am2

:::

amn

## the vector space Rn :

x1
x2
..
.
xn

C
C
C:
A

This is, A is the matrix of the system, and X is the column matrix of the
unknowns. Then, our linear system can be written as a unique matrix equation:
AX = 0:
Proof. Let us now prove the statement.
1. (a) If x = (x1 ; :::; xn ) 2 Rn and y = (y1 ; :::; yn ) 2 Rn are two solutions
of the system, then, with the above notations, we have: AX = 0 and
AY = 0: We get immediately:
A(X + Y ) = 0;
which means that x + y = (x1 + y1 ; :::; xn + yn ) is again a solution of
the system.
4

## (b) Let x = (x1 ; :::; xn ) 2 Rn be a solution and

the equality AX = 0 implies

2 R a scalar. Then,

AX = A( X) = 0;
which means that
q.e.d.

## x = ( x1 ; :::; xn ) is a solution of the system,

The above example can be used as a theorem. For instance, the solutions of
the system:
x1 + 2x2 + x3 = 0
(1)
x1
3x3 = 0
form a vector subspace of R3 :
Exercise 6 Prove that the solutions of the system
x1 + 2x2 + x3 = 1
x1
3x3 = 2

(2)

do not constitute a vector subspace of R3 : This is, if in the system (1) we change
the free terms, then the solutions of the system do no longer yield a vector
subspace.
Exercise 7 Prove that, in the space of polynomials (C[X]; +; C ); the set
Pn = ff 2 C[X] j f = an X n + an

1X

n 1

+ :::: + a1 X + a0 g

## of all polynomials of degree at most n, is a vector subspace.

Exercise 8 Let (V; +;
that:

K)

## the intersection U \ S is a subspace of V ;

the sum U + S = fu + s j u 2 U; s 2 Sg is a subspace of V ;
the union U [ S is generally not a subspace (nd a counterexample!).

## Subspace spanned by a subset of a vector space

Let (V; +; K ) be a vector space and U V a non-empty subset. Then, the set
of all nite linear combinations of elements in U; namely
[U ] = f

1 u1

+ ::::

n un

2 K; ui 2 U; i = 1; n; n 2 N g

## is a vector subspace of V; called the subspace spanned by U; or simply, the

span of U: U is called a spanning set (a set of generators) for [U ]:
5

## Moreover, it can be proved that [U ] is the smallest subspace of V which

contains U; this is, it is contained in any other subspace containing U:
In particular, if U = fu1 ; u2 ; ::::; un g is a nite set, then its span [U ] is simply
the set of all linear combinations of its elements:
[U ] = f

1 u1

+ ::::

Examples:
1) Let U = f(1; 2); (3; 4)g

n un

2 K; i = 1; ng:

R2 : Then,

[U ] = f (1; 2) + (3; 4) j ;

2 Rg = f( + 3 ; 2 + 4 j ;

2 Rg:

## 2) If U contains only one vector U = fug; then the subspace spanned by U

consists of all multiples of u :
[U ] = f u j

2 Kg:

## Exercise 9 Show that the following subsets of R3 are subspaces and nd a

spanning subset (a set of generators) for each of them:
1. S1 = f( ; 2 ; 3 ) j 2 Rg;
2. S2 = f( + ;

;2 ) j

2 Rg;

3. S3 = f(x1 ; x2 ; x3 ) j x1 + x2 = 0; x1

2x3 = 0g: