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# Multivariable Calculus

## Summary 5: Curves in space-curvature

Definition. Unit tangent vector T
v v where T v v
v
t v
t T

) (
) (
Arc-length parameterization of a position vector.
. ) ( ), ( ), ( ) ( vector position a be t z t y t x t r Let

The position point (x, y, z) on a curve C is a function of the parameter t.

b
a
dt t v s length Arc ) (
is a function of the parameter t, therefore s=s(t)
The position point (x, y, z) on a curve C is a function of the parameter s because it
is uniquely determined by its distance s(t) along the curve.
Thus, the curve C can also be described by a function of s.
) ( ) ( ), ( ), ( ) ( ), ( ), ( ) ( s R s z s y s x t z t y t x t r

Theorem 1.
) (t T
ds
R d

) ( ), (
) (
) (
t v v where t T
t v
t v
dt
ds
dt
R d
ds
R d
dt
r d
dt
ds
ds
R d
dt
R d

Conclusion:
) (t T
ds
R d

Theorem 2: If
) (t u

## is a unit vector then

) (t u

is orthogonal (perpendicular) to
) (t u

.
Proof:

1 ) ( 1 ) ( ) ( ) ( . 1
2
t u that fact the by t u t u t u Step

Recall the property
v v v

2
lar perpendicu are t u and t u t u t u t u t u
t u t u t u t u t u t u ating Differenti Step
) ( ) ( 0 ) ( ) ( 0 ) ( ) ( 2
0 ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( 1 ) ( ) ( . 2

+

Theorem 3:
ds
T d
to lar perpendicu is T

Proof:
-1-
Step 1. By the previous theorem
dt
T d
and T

## are perpendicular because

vector unit a is T

Step 2.
scalar a is
v
because
dt
T d
to parallel is
ds
T d
v dt
T d
ds
dt
dt
T d
ds
T d 1 1

Ste 3. Therefore,
ds
T d
to lar perpendicu is T

## because if a vector is perpendicular to

one of two parallel vectors, it is also perpendicular to the other.
Definition of curvature:
The curvature
ds
T d
by defined is curve a of

, magnitude of the change of the
unit tangent vector with respect to arc length s.
Note: curvature has to do with the rate at which the velocity vector turns. A
straight line has zero curvature. The curvature of a circle decreases as the radius
increases.
Definition: the radius of curvature of a curve at a given point, is defined as the
reciprocal of the curvature at that point, that is

## . They are inversely

proportional, that is, as one increase the other decreases.
We say a line has an infinite radius of curvature because its curvature is zero.
Example: The larger the circle, the smaller the curvature
A circle of radius 10 has curvature of 0.1
A circle of radius 100 has curvature of 0.01
A straight line has 0 curvature, therefore it has infinite radius.
Theorem 4.
.
.
axis x positive the and T between angle
the is plane the in
ds
d
to equivalent is which
ds
T d

Proof:
Let
be the angle of inclination of the unit tangent vector
sin cos j i T +

-2-
( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
ds
d
ds
T d
or
ds
d
ds
T d
Therefore
vector unit a is j i because j i but
ds
d
j i
ds
d
j i
ds
T d
ds
d
j i
ds
d
d
T d
ds
T d

+ +
+ +
+

cos sin 1 cos sin
cos sin cos sin
cos sin
Theorem 5.
dt
T d
v

1

Proof:
dt
T d
v v dt
T d
ds
dt
dt
T d
ds
dt
dt
T d
ds
T d

1 1

Definition of Principal unit Normal vector N

N
ds
T d
ds
T d
ds
T d
ds
T d
N

1
Definition: The binormal vector is defined by N T B

. Since T

and N

are
perpendicular unit vectors then B

T

, N

, B

## forms a moving trihedral along the curve.

Tangential and Normal components of the acceleration:
Theorem 6:
2
v a and
dt
dv
a where N a T a a
N T N T
+

Proof:
-3-
( )
.
:
) ( ) ( ,
) (
) (
) (
2
2 2
2
on accelerati scalar the called is a
dt
dv
kv a is component normal the and
a
dt
dv
a is T the on on accelerati of component the Note
N kv T a t a N kv T
dt
dv
t a Therefore
normal unit principal of definition by N k
ds
T d
but
ds
T d
v T
dt
dv
v
ds
T d
v T
dt
dv
t a
dt
ds
ds
T d
v T
dt
dv
T
dt
dv
dt
T d
v
dt
T v d
dt
t v d
t a
n
T

+ +

+ +
+ +

Theorem 7: k
v a
v

3
( )
3 3
3
3 3
3 2 2
0
r
r r
v
a v
and
v a v Therefore
N T vector unit the is B where B v B v
N T v T T av N v v T v a N v T a v a v

+
+ + +

Theorem 8:
v
a v
a and
v
a v
a where N a T a a
N T
N T

+
Show that
v
a v
dt
dv
a
T

( )
v
a v
a Therefore
a
dT
dv
v
a v
dT
dv
v a v v
dT
dv
v N T v T T
dT
dv
v
N kv T v T
dt
dv
T v N kv T
dt
dv
T v a v
T
T

+ +
+
,
_

,
_

+
) 0 ( ) 1 (
3 3
2 2
From theorem 8,
k
v a
v

3
-4-
Therefore,
N
a
v
a v
v a v v

2 3

Therefore,
) (
) ( ) (

) (
) ( ) (

2
t r
t r t r
v
a v
v a and
t r
t r t r
v
a v
dt
dv
a
where N a T a a
N T
N T

N
T
a
T a a
N

N a T a a
N T

+
by solving for N

## Theorem 10. For vectors in the plane xy,

( ) ( ) [ ]
2 / 3
2 2
y x
y x y x
+

Proof:
( ) ( )
( ) ( ) [ ]
2 / 3
2 2
3
2 2
3
,
) (
0
0
0 ), ( ), ( 0 ), ( ), ( , 0 ), ( ), (
y x
y x y x
y x
y x y x
v
a v
Therefore
y x y x a v k y x y x oj oi
y x
y x
k j i
a v
t y t x r a and t y t x r v t y t x r Let
+

,
_

+ +

## Theorem 11: if y = f(x) show that the curvature formula is given by

( ) [ ]
2 / 3
2
1 y
y
+

Proof: if y = f(x), use the parametric representation, x(t)=x and y=f(x)

( ) ( ) [ ] ( ) ( ) [ ] ( ) [ ]
2 / 3
2
2 / 3
2 2
2 / 3
2 2
1 1
0 1
y
y
y
y y
y x
y x y x
+

+

-5-
Definition. Osculating circle: the circle that best fits at a point of a curve is called
the osculating circle. The radius r==
1
k
. The osculating circle must be tangent to
the curve at the given point.
Theorem 12: The position vector

## for the center of the osculating circle is given

N r

+ where r

is the position vector of the point in the curve at which the osculating
circle is constructed.
Proof:
1. Let (h, k) be the center of the osculating circle. Therefore
k h,

## . Let P=(x, y) be the

point on the curve that is used to construct the osculating circle. The vector connecting the given
point P on the curve and the center C of the osculating circle must be perpendicular to the unit
vector
T

## , therefore it must be a scalar multiple of the vector N

with length

.Therefore the
vector N C P

. If the point O represents the origin of the coordinate system then by vector
addition, N r C P P O C O

+ +
Practice problems:
1. Find the curvature, tangential and normal components of the acceleration of the vector
function

r t t t t ( ) , , < >
2 3
at t=2.
Solution:
( )
1954 . 2
161
776
) 2 ( ) 2 (
979 . 11
161
152 ) 2 ( ) 2 (
013636 . 0
161 161
776
161
4 144 576
) 2 ( ) 2 (
2 , 12 , 24
12 2 0
12 4 1 ) 2 ( ) 2 ( , 152 144 8 0 ) 2 ( ) 2 (
161 , 12 , 2 , 0 ) 2 ( , 12 , 4 , 1 ) 2 ( , 8 , 4 , 2 ) 2 ( , 2
6 , 2 , 0 ) ( 3 , 2 , 1 ) ( , , ) (
3 3
2 3 2

+ +

+ +

v
a v
a
v
a v
a
v
a v
k j i
a v a v
v a v r t at
t t a t t t v t t t t r
N
T

Curvature: 0.013636_______
Tangential component: _11.979____
Normal component: __2.1954_____
2. Find the curvature of y x a t
3
1 1 ( , ) answer: __ 1897 . 0
50
10 3
_____
Method 1.
-6-
( )
1897 . 0
50
10 3
10 10
6
10
6 ) 2 ( ) 2 (
6 , 0 , 0
0 6 0
0 3 1 ) 2 ( ) 2 ( , 10 ,
0 , 6 , 0 ) ( , 0 , 3 , 1 ) 1 ( , 1 ), 1 , 1 (
0 , 6 , 0 ) ( , 0 , 3 , 1 ) ( , 0 , , ) (
3 3
2 3

v
v v
k j i
v v v
t a v t at
t t a t t v t t t r

## 2. Find the curvature of y x a t

3
1 1 ( , ) answer: __ 1897 . 0
50
10 3
_____
Method 2.
( ) [ ]
( )
( ) [ ]
( )
50
10 3
10 10
6
10
6
3 1
6
3 1
6
1
2 / 3 2 / 3
2
2 / 3
2
2
2 / 3
2

+

1
]
1

x
x
y
y

## 3. Find the osculating circle for y x 1

2
at (0, 1)
( ) [ ] ( ) [ ] ( ) [ ]
2
1
2
0 1
2
2 1
2
1
2 / 3
2
2 / 3
2
2 / 3
2

+

+

x y
y
j
a
T a a
N Therefore
v
a v
a and
v
a v
a
a v k
k j i
a v and a v
t a t v r
x t because t at
t a t t v t t t r Let
N
T
N T

0 , 1 , 0
2
0 0 , 2 , 0
,
2
1
2
0
1
0
2 2
0 2 0
0 0 1 0
0 , 2 , 0 ) ( , 0 , 0 , 1 ) ( , 0 , 1 , 0 ) 0 (
0 0 ) 1 , 0 (
0 , 2 , 0 ) ( , 0 , 2 , 1 ) ( , 0 , 1 , ) (
2

In the formula 0 , 1 , 0
2
1
, 0 , 1 , 0 , 0 , , , + N and r k h N r

,
Therefore, the center is given by
0 ,
2
1
, 0 0 , 1 , 0
2
1
0 , 1 , 0 0 , , , + + k h N r

The osculating circle has center (0, ) and radius .
The equation of a circle ( ) ( )
4
1
2
1
2
2 2 2 2

,
_

+ + y x r k y h x
4
1
2
1
2
2

,
_

+ y x _________
-7-
4. . Find the osculating circle y e a t
x
( , ) 0 1
( ) [ ]
( ) ( )
2 2
2 2
1
1 1
1
2 / 3
2
0
0
2 / 3
2
2 / 3
2

1
]
1

1
]
1

+

e
e
e
e
y
y
x
x
0 ,
2
1
,
2
1
0 , 1 , 1
2
2
2
0 , 1 , 1
0 , 1 , 0 2
2
1
2
0 , 1 , 1
2
1
0 , 1 , 0
,
2
1
2
1
1
0 1 0
0 1 1 1
2
0 , 1 , 1
, 2 , 0 , 1 , 0 ) ( , 0 , 1 , 1 ) ( , 0 , 1 , 0 ) 0 (
0 0 ) 1 , 0 (
0 , , 0 ) ( , 0 , , 1 ) ( , 0 , , ) (

1
]
1

N
a
T a a
N Therefore
v
a v
a and
v
a v
a
a v k
k j i
a v and a v
T v t a t v r
x t because t at
e t a e t v e t t r Let
N
T
N T
t t t

( )
( ) ( ) 8 3 2
2 2 , 3 , 2
0 , 3 , 2 0 , 2 , 2 0 , 1 , 0 0 , , ,
0 , 2 , 2 0 ,
2
1
,
2
1
2 2 0 , 1 , 0 , 0 , , ,
2 2
+ +

+
y x is equation the and
is radius the is circle osculating the of center The
k h Therefore
N and r k h N r

5. Curves in space are generally represented by parametric equations, or equivalently, by a
vector-values function

r t ( )
. The moving trihedral consists of the three mutually orthogonal
(perpendicular) unit vectors

T N a n d B , , where

T
is the unit tangent vector,

N
is the principal normal vector.

B
is called the binormal vector and

B T N
Find the curvature and the binormal vector at t=1 for the curve

r t t i t j t k ( ) ( ) + + 2 1
2
Solution:
-8-
165634665 . 0
27
5 2
:
27
5 2
5 2 20 , 4 , 0 , 2
0 2 0
1 2 2 , 4 , 3 9
3
1
,
3
2
,
3
2
, 0 , 2 , 0 ) ( , 1 , 2 , 2 ) 1 ( , 0 , 1 , 2 ) 1 ( , 1
0 , 2 , 0 ) ( , 1 , 2 , 2 ) ( , 1 , , 2 ) (
2

a v
k j i
a v a v v
T t a v r t at
t a t t v t t t t r

5
2
, 0 ,
5
1
5 9
18
, 0 ,
5 9
9
5 3
2
5 3
5
5 3
4
3
1
3
2
3
2
5 3
2
,
5 3
5
,
5 3
4
3
5 2
9
4
,
9
10
,
9
8
3
5 2
3
1
,
3
2
,
3
2
3
4
0 , 2 , 0
3
5 2
,
3
4

k j i
N T B
N
N
v
a v
a
v
a v
a
N T

binormal vector = __
5
2
, 0 ,
5
1
____
-9-