In differential geometry of curves, the osculating circle of a sufficiently smooth plane

^{3}, that is, the curve straightens more and more.

math3d : osculating_circle

Circles Differential geometry Curves

curve
In mathematics, a curve (also called a curved line in older texts) is an object similar to a line (geometry), line, but that does not have to be Linearity, straight.
Intuitively, a curve may be thought of as the trace left by a moving point (geo ...

at a given point ''p'' on the curve has been traditionally defined as the circle passing through ''p'' and a pair of additional points on the curve infinitesimal
In mathematics, infinitesimals or infinitesimal numbers are quantities that are closer to zero than any standard real number, but are not zero. They do not exist in the standard real number system, but do exist in many other number systems, such a ...

ly close to ''p''. Its center lies on the inner normal line, and its curvature
In mathematics, curvature is any of several strongly related concepts in geometry. Intuitively, the curvature is the amount by which a curve deviates from being a straight line, or a Surface (mathematics), surface deviates from being a plane (ge ...

defines the curvature of the given curve at that point. This circle, which is the one among all at the given point that approaches the curve most tightly, was named ''circulus osculans'' (Latin for "kissing circle") by Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the "#1666–1676, 1666–1676" section. (; or ; – 14 November 1716) was a prominent Germany, German polymath and one of the most important Logic, logicians, Math ...

.
The center and radius of the osculating circle at a given point are called center of curvature and of the curve at that point. A geometric construction was described by Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March Old Style and New Style dates, 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author (described in his time as a "natural philosophy, natural philosopher") w ...

in his '' Principia'':
Nontechnical description

Imagine a car moving along a curved road on a vast flat plane. Suddenly, at one point along the road, the steering wheel locks in its present position. Thereafter, the car moves in a circle that "kisses" the road at the point of locking. Thecurvature
In mathematics, curvature is any of several strongly related concepts in geometry. Intuitively, the curvature is the amount by which a curve deviates from being a straight line, or a Surface (mathematics), surface deviates from being a plane (ge ...

of the circle is equal to that of the road at that point. That circle is the osculating circle of the road curve at that point.
Mathematical description

Let ''γ''(''s'') be a regular parametric plane curve, where ''s'' is the (the natural parameter). This determines the ''unit tangent vector'' T(''s''), the ''unit normal vector'' N(''s''), the signed curvature ''k''(''s'') and the ''radius of curvature'' ''R''(''s'') at each point for which ''s'' is composed: : $T(s)=\backslash gamma\text{'}(s),\backslash quad\; T\text{'}(s)=k(s)N(s),\backslash quad\; R(s)=\backslash frac.$ Suppose that ''P'' is a point on ''γ'' where ''k'' ≠ 0. The corresponding center of curvature is the point ''Q'' at distance ''R'' along ''N'', in the same direction if ''k'' is positive and in the opposite direction if ''k'' is negative. The circle with center at ''Q'' and with radius ''R'' is called the osculating circle to the curve ''γ'' at the point ''P''. If ''C'' is a regular space curve then the osculating circle is defined in a similar way, using the principal normal vector ''N''. It lies in the '' osculating plane'', the plane spanned by the tangent and principal normal vectors ''T'' and ''N'' at the point ''P''. The plane curve can also be given in a different regular parametrization $\backslash gamma(t)\; =\; \backslash begin\; x\_1(t)\; \backslash \backslash \; x\_2(t)\; \backslash end$ where regular means that $\backslash gamma\text{'}(t)\backslash ne\; 0$ for all $t$. Then the formulas for the signed curvature ''k''(''t''), the normal unit vector ''N''(''t''), the radius of curvature ''R''(''t''), and the center ''Q''(''t'') of the osculating circle are : $k(t)\; =\; \backslash frac,\; \backslash qquad\; N(t)\; =\; \backslash frac\backslash cdot\backslash begin\; -x\_2\text{'}(t)\; \backslash \backslash \; x\_1\text{'}(t)\; \backslash end$ : $R(t)\; =\; \backslash left,\; \backslash frac\; \backslash \backslash qquad\; \backslash text\; \backslash qquad\; Q(t)\; =\; \backslash gamma(t)\; +\; \backslash frac\backslash cdot\backslash begin\; -x\_2\text{'}(t)\; \backslash \backslash \; x\_1\text{'}(t)\; \backslash end\backslash ,.$Cartesian coordinates

We can obtain the center of the osculating circle in Cartesian coordinates if we substitute and for some function ''f''. If we do the calculations the results for the X and Y coordinates of the center of the osculating circle are: : $x\_c\; =\; x\; -\; f\text{'}\backslash frac\; \backslash quad\backslash text\backslash quad\; y\_c\; =\; f\; +\; \backslash frac$Properties

For a curve ''C'' given by a sufficiently smooth parametric equations (twice continuously differentiable), the osculating circle may be obtained by a limiting procedure: it is the limit of the circles passing through three distinct points on ''C'' as these points approach ''P''.Actually, point ''P'' plus two additional points, one on either side of ''P'' will do. See Lamb (on line): This is entirely analogous to the construction of the tangent to a curve as a limit of the secant lines through pairs of distinct points on ''C'' approaching ''P''. The osculating circle ''S'' to a plane curve ''C'' at a regular point ''P'' can be characterized by the following properties: * The circle ''S'' passes through ''P''. * The circle ''S'' and the curve ''C'' have the tangent lines to circles, common tangent line at ''P'', and therefore the common normal line. * Close to ''P'', the distance between the points of the curve ''C'' and the circle ''S'' in the normal direction decays as the cube or a higher power of the distance to ''P'' in the tangential direction. This is usually expressed as "the curve and its osculating circle have the second or higher order Contact (mathematics), contact" at ''P''. Loosely speaking, the vector functions representing ''C'' and ''S'' agree together with their first and second derivatives at ''P''. If the derivative of the curvature with respect to ''s'' is nonzero at ''P'' then the osculating circle crosses the curve ''C'' at ''P''. Points ''P'' at which the derivative of the curvature is zero are called vertex (curve), vertices. If ''P'' is a vertex then ''C'' and its osculating circle have contact of order at least three. If, moreover, the curvature has a non-zero local maximum or minimum at ''P'' then the osculating circle touches the curve ''C'' at ''P'' but does not cross it. The curve ''C'' may be obtained as the envelope (mathematics), envelope of the one-parameter family of its osculating circles. Their centers, i.e. the centers of curvature, form another curve, called the ''evolute'' of ''C''. Vertices of ''C'' correspond to singular points on its evolute. Within any arc of a curve ''C'' within which the curvature is monotonic (that is, away from any vertex (curve), vertex of the curve), the osculating circles are all disjoint and nested within each other. This result is known as the Tait-Kneser theorem.Examples

Parabola

For the parabola :$\backslash gamma(t)\; =\; \backslash begin\; t\backslash \backslash t^2\; \backslash end$ the radius of curvature is :$R(t)=\; \backslash left,\; \backslash frac\; \backslash $ At the vertex $\backslash gamma(0)\; =\; \backslash begin\; 0\backslash \backslash 0\; \backslash end$ the radius of curvature equals (see figure). The parabola has fourth order contact with its osculating circle there. For large ''t'' the radius of curvature increases ~ ''t''Lissajous curve

A Lissajous curve with ratio of frequencies (3:2) can be parametrized as follows :$\backslash gamma(t)\; =\; \backslash begin\; \backslash cos(3t)\; \backslash \backslash \; \backslash sin(2t)\; \backslash end.$ It has signed curvature ''k''(''t''), normal unit vector ''N''(''t'') and radius of curvature ''R''(''t'') given by : $k(t)\; =\; \backslash frac\backslash ,,$ : $N(t)\; =\; \backslash frac\; \backslash cdot\; \backslash begin\; -2\backslash cos(2t)\; \backslash \backslash \; -3\backslash sin(3t)\; \backslash end$ and : $R(t)\; =\; \backslash left,\; \backslash frac\; \backslash .$ See the figure for an animation. There the "acceleration vector" is the second derivative $\backslash frac$ with respect to the .Cycloid

A cycloid with radius ''r'' can be parametrized as follows: :$\backslash gamma(t)\; =\; \backslash begin\; r\backslash left(t\; -\; \backslash sin\; t\backslash right)\; \backslash \backslash \; r\backslash left(1\; -\; \backslash cos\; t\backslash right)\; \backslash end$ Its curvature is given by the following formula: :$\backslash kappa(t)\; =\; -\; \backslash frac$ which gives: :$R(t)\; =\; \backslash frac$See also

*Circle packing theorem *Osculating curve *Osculating sphereNotes

Further reading

For some historical notes on the study of curvature, see * * For application to maneuvering vehicles see *JC Alexander and JH Maddocks (1988): ''On the maneuvering of vehicles'' *External links

* {{MathWorld , urlname= OsculatingCircle , title= Osculating Circlemath3d : osculating_circle

Circles Differential geometry Curves