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Quadric Surfaces

MATHEMATICS 22

Institute of Mathematics
University of the Philippines-Diliman

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Quadric Surfaces

Definition
The graph of an equation in R3 of the form

Ax2 + By 2 + Cz2 + Dx + Ey + Fz + G = 0

where the coefficients A, B, C, D, E, F, G ∈ R and A, B, C are not all zero, is


called a quadric surface, or simply a quadric.

Remark. To sketch a quadric, we use its traces on the coordinate planes


and/or on planes parallel to the coordinate planes.

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Example 1. Sketch the graph of
x2 y 2 z2
+ + = 1.
9 16 4

Trace on the:
xy-plane:
x2 y 2
+ = 1 (ellipse)
9 16
yz-plane :
y 2 z2
+ = 1 (ellipse)
16 4
xz-plane :
x2 z2
+ = 1 (ellipse)
9 4

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Ellipsoid

Definition
The graph of an equation of the form

x2 y 2 z2
+ + = 1,
a2 b2 c2
where a, b, and c are positive real numbers, is called an ellipsoid.

Remarks.
If exactly two of the denominators are equal then the ellipsoid is called
a spheroid.
If the third axis is shorter than the two other axes, the ellipsoid is called
an oblate spheroid.
If the third axis is longer than the two other axes, the ellipsoid is called
an prolate spheroid.

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Ellipsoid

oblate spheroid prolate spheroid

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Example 2. Sketch the graph of
y 2 z2
x2 + − = 1.
4 9

Trace on the:
xy-plane:
y2
x2 + = 1 (ellipse)
4
yz-plane :
y 2 z2
− = 1 (hyperbola)
4 9
xz-plane :
z2
x2 − = 1 (hyperbola)
9
z = ±3 :
x2 y 2
+ = 1 (ellipse)
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(Elliptic) Hyperboloid of One Sheet

Definition
The graph of an equation of the form

x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2
+ − = 1 or − + = 1 or − + + = 1,
a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2
where a, b, c are positive real numbers, is called a hyperboloid of one sheet.

x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2
+ − =1 − + =1 − + + =1
a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2
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Example 3. Sketch the graph of
x2 z2
− − y 2 + = 1.
9 4

Trace on the:
xy-plane:
x2
− − y 2 = 1 (empty set)
9
yz-plane :
z2
−y 2 + = 1 (hyperbola)
4
xz-plane :
x2 z2
− + = 1 (hyperbola)
9 4
z = ±4 :
x2 y 2
+ = 1 (ellipse)
27 3
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(Elliptic) Hyperboloid of Two Sheets

Definition
The graph of an equation of the form

x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2
− − + = 1 or − − = 1 or − + − = 1,
a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2
where a, b, c are positive real numbers, is called a hyperboloid of two sheets.

x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2
− − + =1 − − =1 − + − =1
a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2
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Some Useful Tips on Sketching Quadric Surfaces

Remarks.
1 If in the equation of a quadric, x, y, and z are replaced by x − h, y − k,
and z − `, respectively, then all the points on the quadric are translated
by h units in x, k units in y, and ` units in z.

2 In case the quadric is translated h units in x, k units in y, and ` units in


z, the traces on the planes x = h, y = k, and z = ` are helpful for
sketching the quadric.

3 In some cases, it is difficult to sketch a quadric if we follow the usual


orientation of the coordinate axes (with the z-axis pointing up). Thus,
it is sometimes convenient to rotate the axes to make the sketching
easier. However, one must make sure that the axes still follow the right
hand rule.

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Exercises (Part 1)

Identify the type of the following quadric surfaces. Find the equations of
the traces on planes necessary to sketch the quadric and identify each
trace. Sketch the graph of the quadric using the traces.

1 x2 + 16y 2 + 4z2 = 16

2 x2 + y 2 − (z − 4)2 = 9

x2 y 2 z2
3 − − =1
4 9 16

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Example 4. Sketch the graph of
y 2 z2
x2 + − = 0.
4 9

Trace on the:
xy-plane:
y2
x2 + = 0 (point)
4
yz-plane :
y z
= ± (two lines)
2 3
xz-plane :
z
x = ± (two lines)
3
z = ±3 :
y2
x2 + = 1 (ellipse)
4
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Elliptic Cone

Definition
The graph of an equation of the form

x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2
+ − = 0 or − + + = 0 or − + = 0,
a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2
where a,b, and c are positive real numbers, is called an elliptic cone.

x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2 x2 y 2 z2
+ − =0 − + + =0 − + =0
a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2 a2 b2 c2
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Example 5. Sketch the graph of
y2 z
x2 + = .
4 3

Trace on the:
xy-plane:
y2
x2 + = 0 (point)
4
yz-plane :
y2 z
= (parabola)
4 3
xz-plane :
z
x2 = (parabola)
3
z=3:
y2
x2 + = 1 (ellipse)
4
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Elliptic Paraboloid

Definition
The graph of an equation of the form

x2 y 2 z x2 z2 y y 2 z2 x
+ = or + = or + = ,
a2 b2 c a2 b2 c a2 b2 c
where a, b are positive and c is nonzero, is called an elliptic paraboloid.

x2 y 2 z x2 y 2 z
+ = , c>0 + = , c<0
a2 b2 c a2 b2 c
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Elliptic Paraboloid

Definition
The graph of an equation of the form

x2 y 2 z x2 z2 y y 2 z2 x
+ = or + = or + = ,
a2 b2 c a2 b2 c a2 b2 c
where a, b are positive and c is nonzero, is called an elliptic paraboloid.

x2 z2 y x2 z2 y
+ = , c>0 + = , c<0
a2 b2 c a2 b2 c
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Elliptic Paraboloid

Definition
The graph of an equation of the form

x2 y 2 z x2 z2 y y 2 z2 x
+ = or + = or + = ,
a2 b2 c a2 b2 c a2 b2 c
where a, b are positive and c is nonzero, is called an elliptic paraboloid.

y 2 z2 x y 2 z2 x
+ = , c>0 + = , c<0
a2 b2 c a2 b2 c
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Example 6. Sketch the graph of

x2 − y 2 = −z.

Trace on the:
xy-plane:
x = ±y (two lines)
yz-plane :
y 2 = z (parabola)
xz-plane :
x2 = −z (parabola)

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Example 6. Sketch the graph of

x2 − y 2 = −z.

Additional Traces
z = 4:
y 2 − x2 = 4 (hyperbola)
z = −4:
x2 − y 2 = 4 (hyperbola)
y = 4:
x2 − 16 = −z (parabola)
y = −4:
x2 − 16 = −z (parabola)

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Hyperbolic Paraboloid

Definition
The graph of an equation of the form

y 2 x2 z z2 x2 y z2 y 2 x
− = or − = or − = ,
a2 b2 c a2 b2 c a2 b2 c
where a, b are positive and c is nonzero, is called a hyperbolic paraboloid.

y 2 x2 z z2 x2 y z2 y 2 x
− = ,c > 0 − = ,c > 0 − = ,c > 0
b2 a2 c a2 b2 c a2 b2 c
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Exercises (Part 2)

Identify the type of the following quadric surfaces. Find the equations of
the traces on planes necessary to sketch the quadric and identify each
trace. Sketch the graph of the quadric using the traces.
p
1 z= x2 + 4y 2

2 x = 4 − y 2 − 4z2

3 4y = x2 − 4z2

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