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Curves’ sketching in Polar Co-ordinates

S.M. Fahad Riaz


National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences-FAST
Karachi Campus
fahad.riaz@nu.edu.pk

Families of Roses
The general equation of roses in polar co-ordinates are 𝑟 = acos 𝑛𝜃 or 𝑟 = asin 𝑛𝜃. The shape of
the figure is rose. Number of petals of rose depends on value of n

𝑛 𝑝𝑒𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑠 𝑖𝑓 𝑛 𝑖𝑠 𝑜𝑑𝑑
2𝑛 𝑝𝑒𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑠 𝑖𝑓 𝑛 𝑖𝑠 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛

Some examples are:

𝑟 = acos 3𝜃
𝑟 = acos 2𝜃

𝑟 = acos 4𝜃 [1] 𝑟 = asin 2𝜃


𝑟 = asin 3𝜃 𝑟 = asin 4𝜃

Families of Cardiods & Limacons


The general equation of Cardiods and Limacons are
𝑟 = 𝑎 ± 𝑏 cos 𝜃 or 𝑟 = 𝑎 ± 𝑏 sin 𝜃 , 𝑎, 𝑏 > 0.

The shape of the curve depends on the ratio of 𝑎 and 𝑏 i.e. depend on value of 𝑎 𝑏

𝑎
If = 1 then figure is Cardiod.
𝑏
𝑎
If < 1 then figure is Limacon with inner loop
𝑏
𝑎
If 1 < < 2 then figure is Dimpled Limacon
𝑏
𝑎
If ≥ 2 then figure is Convex Limacon
𝑏

Some examples are shown in figures below:

𝑟 = 𝑎(1 + sin 𝜃)

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𝑟 = 𝑎(1 + cos 𝜃) 𝑟 = 1 − 2 cos 𝜃

𝑟 = 4 − 2 cos 𝜃
𝑟 = 3 − 2 cos 𝜃

Families of Spirals
A curve winding around the origin infinitely many times in such a way that r increases (or
decreases) steadily as 𝜃 increases, is called a spiral

𝑟 = 𝑎𝜃 is called Archimedean Spiral

𝑟 = 𝑎 𝜃 is called Parabolic Spiral

𝑟 = 𝑎𝑒 𝑏𝜃 is called Logarithmic Spiral

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𝑟=𝑎 𝜃 is called Lituus Spiral

𝑟 = 𝑎 𝜃 is called Hyperbolic Spiral

Some examples are shown in figures below:

𝑟 = 2𝜃
𝑟=2 𝜃

𝑟=2 𝜃

Families of Lemniscates
A propeller-shaped curve is called lemniscates. The general equation of this curve:

𝑟 2 = ±𝑎2 cos 2𝜃 or 𝑟 2 = ±𝑎2 sin 2𝜃


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Some examples are shown in figures below:

𝑟 2 = 4 cos 2𝜃 𝑟 2 = −4 sin 2𝜃

Test your Understanding


1. Plot the following figures
a) 𝑟 = 3 sin 2𝜃
b) 𝑟 = 5 + 2 sin 𝜃
c) 𝑟 = 2 − 5 cos 𝜃
d) 𝑟 2 = −4 cos 2𝜃
2. Write the equation of the figures shown below:

a)
b)

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c)
d)

e) f)

Note:
 All above figures are plotted in MATLAB.
 Plot figures as you have done in class.
 Students are advised to use CAS (Computer Application Software) also such as
MATLAB or Microsoft Mathematics.

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