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New Insight into Cycloidal Areas

Apostol, Tom M. and Mnatsakanian, Mamikon A. (2009) New Insight into Cycloidal Areas. American Mathematical Monthly, 116 (7). pp. 598-611. ISSN 0002-9890.

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A point on the boundary of a circular disk that rolls once along a straight line traces a cycloid. The cycloid divides its circumscribing rectangle into a cycloidal arch below the curve and a cycloidal cap above it. The area of the arch is three times that of the disk, and the area of the cap is equal to that of the disk. The paper provides deeper insight into this well-known property by showing (without integration) that the ratio 3:1 holds at every stage of rotation. Each cycloidal sector swept by a normal segment from the point of contact of the disk to the cycloid has area three times that of the overlapping circular segment cut from the rolling disk. This surprising result is extended to epicycloids (and hypocycloids), obtained by rolling a disk of radius r externally (or internally) around a fixed circle of radius R. The factor 3 is replaced by (3 + 2r/R) for the epicycloid, and by (3 − 2r/R) for the hypocycloid. This leads to several interesting consequences. For example, for any cycloid, epicycloid, or hypocycloid, the area of one full arch exceeds that of one full cap by twice the area of the rolling disk. Other applications yield (again without integration) compact geometrically revealing formulas for areas of cycloidal radial and ordinate sets.

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Additional Information:© 2009 Mathematical Association of America.
Issue or Number:7
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20091203-091743750
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:16862
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:04 Dec 2009 16:56
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 01:18

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