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Engineering Mathematics 140 - Notes for Lecture 4 Lines in 3 Space

Overview: We introduce the general equations of a line in 3 space and several applications. Motivation: The vector equations of lines are a preview of more general vector valued functions we will meet later in the semester. Lines in 3 space will also help us to better understand the geometry of multivariable functions as well as the solutions of systems of linear algebraic equations. Key concepts in this lecture: The equations of a line. Determining distances between lines and points. Contents: Vector and parametric equations of a line. Cartesian equations of a line. Distance between a line and a point. Distance between skew lines. Outcomes: You should be able to identify a line from its equation and vice versa. Ability to determine distances between points and lines. Exercises: 1. Find the parametric equations of the line which goes through the point (1, 0, 3) and which is parallel to the vector 2i 4j + 5k. Then nd the point where this line crosses the yz plane. 2. Find the parametric equations of the line which passes through the origin and which is parallel to the line x = 2t, y = 1 t, z = 4 + 3t. Then calculate the shortest distance between the line youve found and the point (1, 1, 1).

Engineering Mathematics 140 - Notes for Lecture 4

3. Show that the line through the points (0, 1, 1) and (1, 1, 6) is perpendicular to the line through the points (4, 2, 1) and (1, 6, 2). 4. Find the Cartesian equations of the line passing through the point (0, 2, 1) which is parallel to the line with parametric equations x = 1 + 2t, y = 3t, z = 5 7t. 5. Show that L1 : y+5 z1 x2 y+1 z x2 = = and L2 : = = are skew lines 2 4 3 1 3 2 and nd the shortest distance between them.

These exercises should take around 40 minutes to complete.

(Answers: 1. x = 1 + 2t, y = 4t, z = 3 + 5t, (0, 2, 11 ); 2. x = 2t, y = t, z = 3t, 2 y 2 91 x z +1 30 d = 7 1.36 (2 d.p.); 4. 2 = 3 = 7 ; 5. d = 342 1.62 (2 d.p.);)

Engineering Mathematics 140 - Notes for Lecture 4 Equations of Lines z


T t    I  !    O z E

P t

Q
t

We want to nd equation of the line passing through the two points P (x0 , y0 , z0 ) and Q(x1 , y1 , z1 ) in I R3 . The direction of the line is given by P Q = [x1 x0 , y1 y0 , z1 z0 ]. Putting a1 = x1 x0 , a2 = y1 y0 and a3 = z1 z0 , then a = [a1 , a2 , a3 ] is a vector parallel to the line. For this reason, we call a a direction vector of the line. Let R(x, y, z ) be an arbitrary point on the line. Then P R is clearly parallel toP Q, i.e. P R = tP Q = ta for some scalar t. Clearly, OR = OP + P R, i.e. [x, y, z ] = [x0 , y0 , z0 ] + t[a1 , a2 , a3 ] Putting r = [x, y, z ] and r 0 = [x0 , y0 , z0 ], we have r = r 0 + ta, which is called the vector equation of a line. In component form, x = x0 + ta1 y = y0 + ta2 z = z0 + ta3 , called the parametric equations of a line. Note that, as t goes from to +, these equations generate all points on the line.

Engineering Mathematics 140 - Notes for Lecture 4 Finally, eliminating t from each of these equations, we get x x0 y y0 z z0 = = a1 a2 a3 known as the cartesian equations of a line.

Note how in either form of the equations of a line, we can immediately identify (x0 , y0 , z0 ) (a point on the line) and a (a direction vector of the line). Ex: Find the equation of the line passing through P (3, 1, 1) and Q(2, 7, 4). At which point does the line intersect the xy -plane? Soln: a = P Q = [5, 6, 3]. Hence, the parametric equations are x = 3 5t y = 1 + 6t z = 1 3t
1 On the xy plane, z = 0. Hence 1 3t = 0 and t = 3 . This in turn gives x = y = 1. Thus, the point of intersection is ( 14 , 1 , 0). 3 14 3

and

Ex: Does the point (2, 6, 6) lie on the line = 1t L y = 2t z = 3+t


x

Soln: If the point does lie on the line, then there must be a value of t such that x = 1 t = 2 y = 2t = 6 z = 3+t = 6 Clearly, t = 3 satises all the three equations, so the point must lie on the line. (If the solution for any one of the equations did not match that of another equation, we could have concluded that the point is not on the line.) Finally note that points A, B and C are co-linear (ie. lie on a straight line) if AB and BC are parallel, i.e. AB = mBC for some scalar m. Ex: Show that P (1, 0, 3), Q(0, 2, 4) and R(2, 6, 6) are co-linear. Soln: We have P Q = [1, 2, 1] and QR = [2, 4, 2] = 2[1, 2, 1] = 2P Q, so the three points must be collinear.

Engineering Mathematics 140 - Notes for Lecture 4 Distance from Point to a Line

We want to nd the shortest (i.e. perpendicular) distance between P (x0 , y0 , z0 ) and the line L given by r = r 0 + at. P (x , y , z ) t 0 0 0
e e e d e B a e e t L

Let M be the point on L which is closest to P . Then, the required distance is clearly given by d = ||P M || where P M is perpendicular to L (and therefore a), so that P M .a = 0. This latter equation is important in analyzing the problem, as we will see in the example below. Ex: Find the distance between P (1, 0, 1) and the line
x

= 1t y = 3 + 2t z = 2 + 5t

Soln: Clearly, a = [1, 2, 5]. Let t1 be the value of t such that the coordinates of M are (1 t1 , 3 + 2t1 , 2 + 5t1 ). (We know the coordinates must take this form, since M is on the line.) Then P M = [t1 , 3 + 2t1 , 3 + 5t1 ] and P M .a = 0 then gives [t1 , 3 + 2t1 , 3 + 5t1 ].[1, 2, 5] = 0, i.e. t1 + 6 + 4t1 15 + 25t1 = 0 3 i.e. t1 = . 10 3 18 3 Therefore P M = [ 10 , 5 , 2 ] and d = ||P M || = 3 10
2

18 + 5

3 + 2

1530 3.9115. 10

Engineering Mathematics 140 - Notes for Lecture 4 Skew Lines

Consider two lines L1 and L2 with direction vectors a1 and a2 , respectively. If L1 and L2 are parallel, then a1 = ma2 for some scalar m. If they are not parallel, they may or may not intersect. Skew lines are those which are not parallel and do not intersect. Ex: Do the lines = 1+t L1 y = 2 2t z = 3 + 5t intersect? Soln: If there is a point (x0 , y0 , z0 ) of intersection of the two lines, then there must be a value of t such that x0 = 1 + t y0 = 2 2t z0 = 3 + 5t and a value of such that x0 = 2 y0 = 3 z0 = 8 +
x

= 2 L2 y = 3 z = 8+

i.e. there must be values of t and such that 1+t = 2 2 2t = 3 3 + 5t = 8 + (1) (2) (3)

Note that we have three equations and 2 unknowns. If we can nd a solution, the lines will intersect at the corresponding point. If there turns out to be no solution, they dont intersect. To check which case occurs, we proceed as follows. Using any two of the equations to solve for t and (you will get a unique solution in most cases). Substitute the resulting values into the third equation and see if it satised or not. If it is, all the three equations are consistent and yield the same solution, thereby telling us that the lines intersect. If it is not, the set of three equations is inconsistent and there is no solution, i.e. the lines do not intersect. In this case, from (1), t = 1 . Substituting into (2), we have 2 2(1 ) = 3 , i.e. = 0 which in turn gives t = 1. Now to check the third equation. Substituting into the left hand side of (3), we have LHS= 3 + 5(1) = 8. Substituting into the right hand side, we have RHS= 8 + 0 = 8 =LHS, so (3) is satised. Thus, the two lines intersect at the point corresponding to = 0, i.e. (2, 0, 8).

Engineering Mathematics 140 - Notes for Lecture 4 Ex: Do the lines = 1t L1 y = 2t z = 3+t intersect ? Soln: We require t and such that 1t = 2+ 2t = 3 t= 3 2 3 =1 2 = 7 2
x

= 2+ L2 y = 3 z = 1

3+t = 1

3+

Substituting these values into the rst equation gives LHS= 1 3 = 1 and RHS= 2 2 11 7 2 + 2 = 2 =LHS. Hence the lines do not intersect. Note that they are also not parallel (a1 = [1, 2, 1] = [1, 0, 1] = a2 ), so they must be skew lines. Finally, we want to nd the shortest distance between two skew lines L1 and L2 (with directions a1 and a2 , respectively).

P $ L1 t $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$ $$ $ $ $ $$ $ d $$$ n t c Q

L2

Clearly, n = a1 a2 is perpendicular to both lines. Also, the line joining the two closest points on L1 and L2 is parallel to n. Let P be any point on L1 and Q any point on L2 . Then the required distance is |, d = |P Q.n n = ||n where n ||

(i.e. simply the scalar projection of P Q on n) Ex: Find the closest distance between = 1t L1 y = 2t z = 3+t
x

= 2+ L2 y = 3 z = 1

Engineering Mathematics 140 - Notes for Lecture 4

Soln: a 1, 2, 1], a2 = [1, 0, 1], P (1, 0, 3), Q(2, 3, 1). n = a1 a2 = [2, 0, 2], 1 = [ 1 1 = [ ||n|| = 8 = 2 2, n , 0, ], so 2 2 1 1 1 | = |[1, 3, 2].[ , 0, ]| = . d = |P Q.n 2 2 2