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# Section 2.

4: Equations of Lines and Planes
An equation of three variable F (x; y; z) = 0 is called an equation of a surface S if (x1 ; y1 ; z1 ) 2 S if and only if F (x1 ; y1 ; z1 ) = 0: For instance, x2 + y 2 + z 2 = 1 is the equation of the unit sphere centered at the origin. The graph of a system of two equations F (x; y; z ) = 0; G (x; y; z ) = 0 represents the intersection of two surfaces represented by F (x; y; z ) = 0 and by G (x; y; z ) = 0; respectively, and is usually a curve. A) Lines in R3: A line l is determined by two elements: one point P0 on the line l and a direction ~ v of l;i.e., any vector that is parallel to l: The goal here is to describe the line using algebra so that one is able to digitize it. Suppose that the coordinate of the point P0 on the line and a direction ~ v are given as: P0 (x0 ; y0 ; z0 ) is a given point on l ~ v = ha; b; ci is parallel to l: ¡ ¡ ! Consider any point P (x; y; z ) in the space. Let P0 P be the vector connecting ¡ ¡ ! P0 and P: If P is located exactly on the line, then P0 P is parallel to the line l;and thus it is parallel to ~ v: On the other hand, if P is o¤ the line, then, ¡ ¡ ! since P0 is on the line, P0 P cannot possibly be parallel to the line. Therefore, ¡ ¡ ! P0 P cannot possibly be parallel to ~ v : We just concluded that ¡ ¡ ! P is on l if and only if P0 P is parallel to ~ v: Now ¡ ¡ ! P0 P = hx; y; z i ¡ hx0 ; y0 ; z0 i = hx ¡ x0 ; y ¡ y0 ; z ¡ z0 i ~ v = ha; b; ci : 1

P(x,y,z) z Po V l

O

y

x

So

¡ ¡ ! ¡ ¡ ! P0 P == ~ v () P0 P = t~ v (for a constant t) x ¡ x0 y ¡ y0 z ¡ z0 = = : a b c

which is equivalent to

We called these three equation symmetric form of the system of equations for line l: If we set x ¡ x0 y ¡ y0 z ¡ z0 = = = t; a b c which is equivalent to x ¡ x0 =t a y ¡ y0 =t b z ¡ z0 = t; c

2

¡2i (iii) x=5+t y = ¡1 z = 3 ¡ 2t (b) Take t = 1. 3i + t h1. y0 .Or x = x0 + at y = y0 + bt z = z0 + ct. ¡5. Thus. ¡1. 1) : (b) Determine where the line l intersects xy ¡ plane: ¡ ! Solution. ! r0 = hx0 . ¡1. the equation is x¡2 y¡4 z+3 = = : 1 ¡5 4 3 . of the line l passing through A (2. ¡ ~ r = hx. 4. 0. ¡2i : Express answer in (i) symmetric form. 1) : Take t = ¡1. and A (2. 4. zi . (x. (a) The line is parallel to vector AB: So we choose this vector as the direction of l. 4. in symmetric form. (b) Find two other points on the line. ¡1. ¡1. y.1. ¡1. 5) : Example 4. y. (a) Find the equation of the line passing through (5. ¡3) as the point on l. 0. (ii) vector form. z) = (6. ¡ ! ~ v = AB = h3. We call it the parametric form of the system of equations for line l: This system can be written in the form of vector equation: ! ~ r=¡ r0 + t~ v. ¡1. Solution: (a) (i) x¡5 y+1 z¡3 = = 1 0 ¡2 (ii) ~ r = h5. ¡3i = h1. 4i . and (iii) parametric form. (a) Find the equation. having direction ~ v = h1. (x. 3). 1i ¡ h2. ¡3) and B (3.2. z0 i : Example 4. z) = (4. y.

then z = 0: So this point (x. i. and intersection of these two lines consists of solutions of the following system of six equations. y = ¡2 + 3t. s: Two lines intersect each other if and only If this system has a solution. s0 ) is a solution.(b) If this line crosses xy ¡ plane somewhere at (x.e. z0 . z = ¡3 + 4t: Determine whether they intersect each other. y. (x0 . y. y0 . y = ¡2 + 3t. for instance. z0 ) is a point of intersection. in each line equation. z = ¡3 + 4s. 0) satises the line equation.. y = 3 + s. y = 3 + s. or neither (skew lines). then the rst three components. y = ¡2 + 3t. Solution: First of all. Given two lines l1 : x = 1 + t. z = 4 ¡ t l2 : x = 2t. or they are parallel. (x0 . z = ¡3 + 4s. t. y0 . z = 4 ¡ t x = 2s.3. z. y = 3 + t. If. y. Therefore. z ) . we rewrite as l1 : x = 1 + t. "t" is a parameter (or free variable) that can be chosen arbitrarily. x = 1 + t. 4 . t0 . z = 4 ¡ t l2 : x = 2s. for ve variables: x. x¡2 y¡4 0+3 = = : 1 ¡5 4 We solve this system to obtain x=2+ 3 11 = 4µ ¶ 4 3 1 y = 4¡5 = 4 4 z = 0: Example 4. the parameter "t" in the equations for line l1 is DIFFERENT from the parameter "t" in the equations for line l2 : To clarify this issue.

11 8 . for instance.e. We thus conclude that these two line cannot possibly intersect. So 11 9 = 5 5 µ ¶ 8 17 RHS of (3) = ¡3 + 4s = ¡3 + 4 = : 5 5 LHS of (3) = 4 ¡ t = 4 ¡ Apparently.We now proceed to solution the system by eliminating x. We start with two equations.s = 5 5 is not a solution of the entire system (1)-(3).y. by subtracting 2 times the second equation from the rst equation. i. the rst and the second equation: 1 + t = 2s ¡2 + 3t = 3 + s: This can be easily solved as. s = . 5 1+t 8 = : 2 5 11 8 We need to verify that the solution. satises the third equation (3).z: 1 + t = 2s ¡2 + 3t = 3 + s 4 ¡ t = ¡3 + 4s: (1) (2) (3) There are three equations with two unknowns. t = .. Answer: skew lines t= 5 . 7 ¡ 5t = ¡6 =) t = s= 11 . from the rst two 5 5 equations (1) & (2).

y0 . For any point P (x. y. C i. if this point P is on the plane ¼ . z i . then the line segment P0 P entirely lies on the plane. z0 i . Any vector that is perpendicular to a plane is called a normal vector to the plane. ! r0 = hx0 . On the other hand.y. where ~ r = hx. is perpendicular to the normal vector ~ n. y0 . In other words. then. Consequently. there are innite many parallel planes that are all having ~ n as their normal vector. a plane ¼ can be determined by a point P0 (x0 . if P is o¤ the 6 . this plane is uniquely determined. vector ¡ ¡ ! ! ¡ P0 P = ~ r¡ ¡ r0 = hx ¡ x0 . z0 ) on the plane and a vector as its normal vector ~ n = hA. For any given vector ~ n. y. There are two normal directions (opposite to each other) to a given plane. z ) .z) Plane l O y x B) Equations of Plane. If we also know a point on the plane. B. y ¡ y0 . Denition.N Po z P(x. z ¡ z0 i .

4i (Scalar Equation) (Vector Equation) We call it vector equation of the plane ¼:In terms of components. ¡1) having a normal vector ~ n = h2. 3. Q (3. any linear equation as above represents a plane with a normal vector ~ n = hA. 2i = h4. Find the equation of the plane passing through P (1. 4. any linear equation is a straight line. 6i ¡ h1.5. 3. 4i : Solution: A = 2. ¡1. or 2x + 3y + 4z ¡ 12 = 0: Example 4. 3. ¡2i ¡ ! ~ v = P Q = h3. 2) . z ¡ z0 i ¢ hA. B = 3. 6) . B. 2. 7 . B.4. then ~ r = P0 P is not perpendicular to ~ n: We conclude that ¡ ¡ ! P 2 ¼ (P belongs to ¼ ) () P0 P ¢ ~ n = 0.) Example 4. R (5. ¡1. C = 4:The equation is 2 (x ¡ 2) + 3 (y ¡ 4) + 4 (z + 1) = 0. C i . 2. 3. or Ax + By + Cz + D = 0: (Linear Equation) In 3D spaces. C i = 0: We obtain scalar form of equation of plane ¼ : A (x ¡ x0 ) + B (y ¡ y0 ) + C (z ¡ z0 ) = 0. ¡1. 0i ¡ h1. y ¡ y0 . 2i = h2. (In 2D. 0) : Solution: Let ¡ ! ~ u = P R = h5. or ¡ (~ r¡ ! r0 ) ¢ ~ n = 0: hx ¡ x0 . Find the equation of the plane passing through P0 (2.¡ ¡ ! plane ¼. ¡4.

then the equation would be 6 (x ¡ 3) + 10 (y + 1) + 7 (z ¡ 6) = 0 or 6x + 10y + 7z ¡ 50 = 0: 8 . 3.instead).Q V P U R The vector ¯ ¯ ¯ ~ u£~ v=¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ =¯ ¯ ¯ i j k ¯ ¯ 4 ¡1 ¡2 ¯ ¯ 2 ¡4 4 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ 4 ¡2 ¯ ¯ 4 ¡1 ¡1 ¡2 ¯ ¯~ ¯ ¯ ¯ ~ i ¡ j + ¯ 2 4 ¯ ¯ 2 ¡4 ¡4 4 ¯ = ¡12~ i ¡ 20~ j ¡ 14~ k ³ ´ = ¡2 6~ i + 10~ j + 7~ k ¯ ¯ ¯~ ¯k is perpendicular to both ~ u and ~ v :Thus. 2) (you may choose Q or R. we take this normal vector and one point P (1. 6) as the known point. ³ ´ ~ n = 6~ i + 10~ j + 7~ k is perpendicular to ¼ : Now. ¡1. and the equation is 6 (x ¡ 1) + 10 (y ¡ 3) + 7 (z ¡ 2) = 0 or 6x + 10y + 7z ¡ 50 = 0: Note that if we chose Q (3.

which can be simplied to ¡10t ¡ 2 = 18: So t = ¡2. and (b) the angle between two planes. z. of the line x = 2 + 3t. if any.7. t: To this end. z = 5 + t and the plane 4x + 5y ¡ 2z = 18: Solution: We need to solve the system of all four equations x = 2 + 3t y = ¡4t z =5+t 4x + 5y ¡ 2z = 18 for x. and x = 2 + 3t = ¡4 y = ¡4 t = 8 z = 5 + t = 3: Answer: the intersection is (¡4. 9 . Given two planes ¼1 : x + y + z = 1 ¼ 2 : x ¡ 2y + 3z = 1: Find (a) the line of intersection.6. 3) : Example 4. 8. y. This leads to 4 (2 + 3t) + 5 (¡4t) ¡ 2 (5 + t) = 18. Find the intersection.Example 4. we substitute the rst three equations into the last one. y = ¡4t.

. on both planes. we also need a point on the line. 1.e.Plane 1 n1 n2 Line l Plane 2 Solution: Plane ¼ 1 and plane ¼ 2 have normal vectors ~ n1 and ~ n2 . i. 1i ~ n2 = h1. The direction of the line is ¯ ¯ ¯ i j k ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ~ v =~ n1 £ ~ n2 = ¯ ¯ 1 1 1 ¯ ¯ 1 ¡2 3 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ 1 1 ¯ ¯ 1 1 ¯ ¯ 1 1 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯~ ~ ~ =¯ i¡¯ j+¯ k ¡2 3 ¯ 1 3 ¯ 1 ¡2 ¯ = 5~ i ¡ 2~ j ¡ 3~ k: To nd the equation of the line. ¡2. 3i : The line is on both planes and thus is perpendicular to both normal vectors.respectively. So we look for one solution to the system x+y+z =1 x ¡ 2y + 3z = 1: 10 . as ~ n1 = h1.

To this end. we subtract the second equation from the rst one to get 2 3y ¡ 2z = 0 =) y = z: 3 Substituting this into plane ¼ 1 : µ ¶ 2 5 x+ z + z = 1 =) x = 1 ¡ z. we set z = 0 to reduce the system to x+y =1 x ¡ 2y = 1: Subtracting the second equation from the rst. 3 3 we obtain the equation of the line 5 x = 1¡ z 3 2 y= z 3 z = z: 11 . we nd 3y = 0 =) y = 0 x = 1: So P (1.This system has innite many solutions (why). in parametric form. is x = 1 + 5t y = ¡2t z = ¡3t: Solution #2: Another way to nd the equation of this line is to solve the system x+y+z =1 x ¡ 2y + 3z = 1 directly in terms of z: In other words. 0. Since we only need one solution. 0) 2 l: The equation of the line. we choose z as parameter.

then we look for one point on the line and a vector PARALLEL to the line. If we set z = ¡3t. ¡2. So cos µ = ~ n1 ¢ ~ n2 h1. we always look for a point and a direction. 1. 1ij jh1. 1. this becomes x = 1 + 5t y = ¡2t z = ¡3t which is identical to what we got earlier. 1i ¢ h1. (b) The angle between two planes is the same as the angle between their normal vectors. More precisely (1) If we want equations of a line. That would be su¢cient to solve the problem.Note that z is basically a free variable. (2) If we want an equation of a plane. 12 . ¡2. 3i 1¡2+3 2 = =p p =p p j~ n1 j j~ n2 j jh1. 3ij 3 1+4+9 3 14 µ ¶ 2 180 µ = arccos p p = 1: 257 1(rad) = 1: 257 1 (deg) = 720 : ¼ 3 14 Practical advice in nding equations of lines or planes: Regardless what information a problem provides. then we look for one point on the plane and a vector PERPENDICULAR to the plane. Cross product may be used to create a vector perpendicular given two vectors.

ci : a + b2 + c2 Then the cross product ³¡ ¡ !´ P0 P1 £ ~ v 13 . 1) Distance between a point P1 (x1 . Q 2 T g : In other words. and a direction (unit vector) of the line 1 ~ v=p 2 ha. y1 . Q) j P 2 S. the distance between two sets is dened as the smallest distance between two points from di¤erent sets. lines and planes: Let S and T be two sets of points.P1 dist Line l V P0 C) Distance between points. Then dist (S. T ) = min fdist (P. b. say P0 (x0 . z0 ) . z1 ) and the line l: x = x0 + at y = y0 + bt z = z0 + ct: Pick a point on the line. y0 .

y1 .8. Find the distance from P1 (1. z0 ) solves Ax0 + By0 + Cz0 + D = 0. 1i : A unit direction of the line is 1 ~ v = p h2. 1i ¡ h1.. and ¡ ¡ ! P0 P1 = h1. y0 . ¡2. 0) is a point on l. ¡4.by denition. ¡2. 29 and ¯ ³¡ ¯ p132 + 4 + 64 r 237 !´ ¯ ¡ ¯ p dist (P1 . l) = ¯ P0 P1 £ ~ v¯ = = = 2: 86: 29 29 Example 4. z1 ) to a plane ¼ : Ax + By + Cz + D = 0: Pick any point P0 (x0 . 2. 14 . has the length ¯³¡ ¯ ¯¡ !´ !¯ ¯ ¡ ¯ ¯ ¡ ¯ dist (P1 . 0i = h0. z0 ) on the plane. (x0 . ¡3. i. y0 . 1) to the line l : ¯ ¶ ¯ ¯~ ¯k (2) Distance from a point P1 (x1 .e. 2. P0 (1. l) = ¯ P0 P1 £ ~ v¯ = ¯P0 P1 ¯ sin µ: x = 1 + 2t y = 2 ¡ 3t z = 4t: Solution. 4i 29 So ¯ ¯ ¯~ ¯ ~ ~ i j k ³¡ ´ ¯ ¡ ! 1 ¯ ¯ P0 P1 £ ~ v = p ¯ 0 ¡4 1 ¯ 29 ¯ 2 ¡3 4 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ µ¯ ¯ ¡4 1 ¯ ¯ 0 1 ¯ ¯ 0 ¡4 1 ¯ ¯~ ¯~ =p i¡¯ j+¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ 2 ¡3 ¡3 4 2 4 29 ´ 1 ³ =p ¡13~ i + 2~ j + 8~ k .

B. 2. C i A + B2 + C2 ¯³¡ !´ ¯ ¯ ¡ ¯ dist (P0 .P1 N N P0 Plane ¡ ¡ ! then the distance is the absolute value of the dot product of P0 P1 and normal direction 1 ~ n= p 2 hA. B. C i ¯ ¯ ¯ p =¯ ¯ 2 + B2 + C 2 A ¯ ¯ ¯ A (x1 ¡ x0 ) + B (y1 ¡ y0 ) + C (z1 ¡ z0 ) ¯ ¯ ¯ p =¯ ¯ 2 2 2 A +B +C ¯ ¯ ¯ Ax1 + By1 + Cz1 ¡ (Ax0 + By0 + Cz0 ) ¯ ¯ p =¯ ¯ ¯ 2 + B2 + C 2 A ¯ ¯ ¯ Ax1 + By1 + Cz1 + D ¯ ¯ =¯ ¯ pA2 + B 2 + C 2 ¯ : Example 4. ¼ ) = ¯ P0 P1 ¢ ~ n¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ hx1 ¡ x0 . z1 ¡ z0 i ¢ hA. 3) to the plane¼ : 2x ¡ y + 3z = 4: Solution: We rewrite plane ¼ in the standard form as 2x ¡ y + 3z ¡ 4 = 0: 15 .9. Find the distance from P (1. y1 ¡ y0 .

z = ¡3 + 4t: Find their distance. y = 3 + t.So (3) Distance between two lines.10. We rst ne the plane ¼ containing line l1 and being parallel to l2 : If ~ v1 and ~ v2 are directions of l1 and l2 . ¼ ) (A) ¯ ¯ ¯ Ax1 + By1 + Cz1 + D ¯ ¯ ¯ dist (P.5. The normal to the plane ¼ containing l1 and parallel to l2 is ~ n=~ v1 £ ~ v2 = ¯ ¯ ¯~ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ~ ~ ¯ ¯ ¯ i j k ¯ ¯ 3 ¡1 ¯ ¯ 1 ¡1 ¯ ¯ 1 3 ¯=¯ ¯~ ¯ ¯~ ¯ ~ n=~ v1 £ ~ v2 = ¯ i ¡ j + 1 3 ¡ 1 ¯ ¯ ¯ 1 4 ¯ ¯ 2 4 ¯ ¯ 2 1 ¯ 2 1 4 ¯ = 13~ i ¡ 6~ j ¡ 5~ k: 16 ¯ ¯ ¯~ ¯k . l2 ) = dist (P1 . ~ n=~ v1 £ ~ v2 is a normal vector to the plane ¼ :One may pick any point P0 on l1 and this normal vector to obtain the equation of ¼ : Pick any point P1 on line l2 . We rst use method (A).and dist (l1 . Solution. y = ¡2 + 3t. l1 : x = 1 + t. P1 2 l2 : Then. l2 ) = ¯Proj~ (B) n P0 P1 ¯ = j~ nj Example 4. z = 4 ¡ t l2 : x = 2t. Pick one point from each line. Consider two skewed lines in Example 9. ¼ ) = ¯ p 2 ¯ 2 + C2 A + B ¯ ¯ ¯ 2x1 ¡ y1 + 3z1 ¡ 4 ¯ ¯ =¯ ¯ p22 + 12 + 42 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯2¡2+9¡4¯ ¯ ¯ = 1: 09: = ¯p 2 2 2 2 +1 +4 ¯ Another approach is to use projection. Then.3. say P0 2 l1 .respectively. ¯³¡ !´ ¯ ¯ ¡ ¯ ¯ ³¡ ´¯ P P n¯ ¡ ! ¯ ¯ 0 1 ¢~ ¯ dist (l1 .

P1 Line l2 V2 dist N Line l1 V1 P0 17 .

¡2. (b) Two lines perpendicular to a third line are parallel. 18 . ¼ ) = dist (P0 .Obviously. Determine whether each statement is true or false. Note that ¡ ¡ ! P0 P1 = h0. ¼ ) ¯ ¯ ¯ Ax1 + By1 + Cz1 + D ¯ ¯ =¯ ¯ pA2 + B 2 + C 2 ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ 13 (0 ¡ 1) ¡ 6 (3 + 2) ¡ 5 (¡3 ¡ 4) ¯ ¯ ¯ p =¯ ¯ 132 + 36 + 25 = 0:527 5 Let now solve the same problem using formula (B). ¼ ) between line l and plane ¼ is the distance from P0 to plane ¼ : dist (l. l2 ) = dist (P1 . 4i = h¡1. ¡3i ¡ h1. ¡2. formula (A) and the distance formula lead to dist (l1 . (d) Two planes perpendicular to a third plane are parallel. 5. l2 ) = ¯³¡ !´ ¯ ¯ ¡ ¯ n¯ ¯ P0 P1 ¢ ~ j~ nj ¯ ¯ ¯ ¡1 ¢ 13 + 5 ¢ (¡6) + (¡7) ¢ (¡5) ¯ ¯ ¯ = 0:527 5: p =¯ ¯ 132 + 36 + 25 (4) Distance between a line l and a plane ¼ : Pick any point P0 on the line and the distance dist (l. P0 (1. (a) Two lines parallel to a third line are parallel. 3. 4) 2 l1 : So equation of ¼ is 13 (x ¡ 1) ¡ 6 (y + 2) ¡ 5 (z ¡ 4) = 0: Since P1 (0. ¡3) 2 l2 . (c) Two planes parallel to a third plane are parallel. ¡7i ~ n = 13~ i ¡ 6~ j ¡ 5~ k: So dist (l1 . P0 2 l: Homework: 1. ¼ ) . 3.

If they intersect. y = ¡2t. ¡4. 1) and perpendicular to the line of intersection of two planes x + y ¡ z = 2 and 2x ¡ y + 3z = 1: (c) The plane through (¡1. 1) . 0. 1) and contains the line of intersection of two planes x + y ¡ z = 2 and 2x ¡ y + 3z = 1: (e) The plane that passes through the line of intersection of the planes x ¡ z = 1 and y + 2z = 3. (a) The plane through (1. 2.(e) Two lines parallel to a plane are parallel. 2. Find equation of plane. (j) Two lines are either intersect or are parallel. 0) and parallel to two lines x = 2 + t. 6) and perpendicular to the plane x + 3y + z = 5: (d) The line through (2. (i) Two planes are either intersect or are parallel. Find parametric equation and symmetric equation of line. 5i : (b) The line through the point the origin and parallel to the line x = 2t. 1) and perpendicular to ~ i +~ j +~ k and ~ i + 2~ k: (e) The line of intersection of the planes x + 2y + z = 1 and x + y = 0: 3. and is perpendicular to the plane x + y ¡ 2z = 1: 4. skew. 1. (0. 1. Determine whether two lines are parallel. 1). and (1. 2. (f) Two lines perpendicular to a plane are parallel. y = 2 ¡ t. 0) : (b) The plane through (5. ¡3) and parallel to h2. (a) The line through the point (1. 19 . 0. z = 2 ¡ 3t: (d) The plane through (¡1. (k) A plane and a line are either intersect or are parallel. nd the point of intersection. z = 1 and x = t. z = 4 + 3t: (c) The line through (1. 1. y = 1 ¡ t. (h) Two planes perpendicular to a line are parallel. 1. (g) Two planes parallel to a line are parallel. 1. or intersecting.

y = 4 + s. z = 1 + 3s: x¡2 y¡3 z¡2 x¡2 y¡6 z+2 (b) L1 : = = . L2 : x = ¡1 + s. (a) Distance from (1. z = 2 ¡ t. 7) to the plane 4x ¡ 6y + z = 5: 20 . ¡2. L2 : = = 2 2 ¡1 1 ¡1 3 5. (Optional) Find distance. 0. z = 1 + 2t: (c) Distance between two planes 3x + 6y ¡ 9z = 4 and x + 2y ¡ 3z = 2: (b) Distance from (3.(a) L1 : x = 1 + 2t. y = 3t. ¡1) to the line x = 5 ¡ t. y = 3t.