Conicoids
1.2 WHAT IS
A
CONICOID?
In his section we shall define surfaces in a threedimensional coordinate systemwhich are analogous to conic sections in a twodimensional system.Let us start with a definition.Definition:
A
general second degree equation in three variables is an equation ofthe formax2
+
by2
+
cz2
+
2fyz
+
2gzx
+
2hxy
+
2ux
+
2vy
+
2wz
+
d
=
0,
...
(1)
where a, b, c, d, f, g, h, u, v, w are real numbers and at least one of a, b, c, d, f,
g,
h is nonzero.Note that if we put either z

k, a constant, x
=
k or y
=
k, in (I), then theequation reduces to a general second degree equation
in
two variables, and therefore,represents a conic.Now, we shall see what a general second degree equation in three variablesrepresents. Let us first consider some particular cases of (1).Case
1
:
Suppose we put a
=
b
=
c
=
1 and
g
=
h
=
f
=
0
n
(1).
Then we get the
I
equation
1
Does this equation seem familiar to you'? In Unit 4 of Block
8
you saw that ifu'
+
v2
+
w2

d
>
0,
hen (2) represents a sphere with centre (f,
g,
h) andradius Ju2
+
v2
+
w2

d
.
Case
2
:
Suppose we put u
=
v
=
w
=
d
=
0
n
(I),
then we getax2
+
by'
+
cz2
+
2fyz
+
2gzx
+
2hxy
=
0.
What does this equation represent? You know from Unit 4 of Block
8
that thisequation represents a cone.Case
3
:
f we put a
=
b
=
1, h
=
0
and z
=
k in (I), then it reduces tox2
+
y2
+
2ux
+
2vy
+
d
=
0,
z
=
k
...(
)This represents a right circular cylinder (see Unit 4 of Block
8,
Sec. 6.4).Similarly, you can see that if we put
x

k or y
=
k and a
=
b
=
1, h
=
0,
henagain (3) represents a cylinder.We will discuss the surfaces represented by (1) in detail in the next unit.The particular cases 1, 2. and 3 suggest that the points whose coordinates satisfy
(1)
lie on
a
surface in the threedimensional system. Such a surface is called a conicoidor a quadric. Algebraically, we define a conicoid as follows
:
Definition
:
A
conicoid (or quadric surface) in the XYZcoordinate system is the set
S
of points (x, y, z)
E
R3
that satisfy a general second degree eqution in threevariables.So, for example, ifF(x, y,
z)
=
ax2
+
by2
+
cz2
+
2fyz
4
2gzx
+
2hxy
+
2ux
+
2vy
+
2wz
+
d
=
0
is the second degree equation, thenS
=
{(x, y, Z)
E
R3
I
F (x, y, z)
=
0:
Note that S can be empty. For example, if
F
(x, y, z)
=
x2
+
y'
+
z2
+
1
=
0,
thenS
=
{(x, y, z)
I
F
(x, y,z)
=
0)
=
0.
lie empty set.In such cases we call the conicoid an iniaginary conicoid.