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Original Title: h93_Intersection_of_two_Planes.pdf

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A Relative Position of two Planes

Two planes may be:

a) intersecting (into a line)

Let consider two plane given by their Cartesian equations:

1 : A1 x + B1 y + C1 z + D1 = 0

2 : A2 x + B2 y + C 2 z + D2 = 0

To find the point(s) of intersection between two planes,

solve the system of equations formed by their Cartesian

equations:

A1 x + B1 y + C1 z + D1 = 0

(*)

A2 x + B2 y + C 2 z + D2 = 0

b) coincident

Notes:

r

1. A normal vector to the plane 1 is n1 = ( A1 , B1 , C1 ) and

r

a normal vector to the plane 2 is n2 = ( A2 , B2 , C 2 ) .

2. If the planes are parallel then coefficients A, B, C are

proportional.

3. If the planes are coincident then coefficients A, B, C , D

are proportional.

4. A system of equations is called compatible if there is at

least one solution. A system of equations is called

incompatible if there is no solution.

c) distinct

1 2 = i

Ex 1. Find the point(s) of intersection of the following two

planes. Give a geometric representation of the solution(s).

1 : 2 x + 3 y + z + 6 = 0

(Line Intersection)

In this case:

2 : 3x y + 2 z 2 = 0

are not proportional.

r

r r

The normal vectors are not parallel: n1 n2 0 .

By solving the system (*) you will be able to find

two variables in terms of the third variable.

There are an infinite number of solutions and

therefore an infinite number of points of

intersection.

The intersection is a line and a direction vector

r r r

for this line is u = n1 n2 .

2010 Iulia & Teodoru Gugoiu - Page 1 of 2

planes. Give a geometric representation of the solution(s).

1 : x 2 y + 3z + 1 = 0

D Coincident Planes

(Plane Intersection)

In this case:

2 : 3 x + 6 y 9 z 3 = 0

(1)

x 2 y + 3z + 1 = 0

3 x + 6 y 9 z 3 = 0 (2)

The coefficients A, B, C , D in the scalar

equations are proportional.

One equation in the system (*) is a multiple of

the other equation and does not contain

additional information (the equations are

equivalent).

By solving the system of equations (*), you get a

true statement (like 0 = 0 ).

There are an infinite number of solutions and

therefore an infinite number of points of

intersection.

The intersection is a plane.

Ex 3. Find the point(s) of intersection of the following two

planes. Give a geometric representation of the solution(s).

1 : x y 2z + 1 = 0

(No Intersection)

In this case:

2 : 4 x + 4 y + 8 z 3 = 0

(1)

x y 2z + 1 = 0

4 x + 4 y + 8 z 3 = 0 (2)

The coefficients A, B, C in the scalar equations

are proportional but the coefficients A, B, C , D

are not proportional.

By solving the system (*) you get a false

statement (like 0 = 1 ).

There is no solution and therefore no point of

intersection between the two planes.

Ex 4. Classify each pair of planes as distinct,

coincident, or intersecting. Do not attempt to solve

algebraically the system of equations.

b) 1 : 3 x + 6 y 9 z 3 = 0 , 2 : 2 x + 4 y 6 z 4 = 0

a) 1 : 2 x 3 y + z 1 = 0 , 2 : 4 x 6 y + 2 z 2 = 0

c) 1 : x + 2 y + 3z + 1 = 0 , 2 : 3 x + 2 y + z + 2 = 0

Homework: Nelson Textbook: Page 515 # 6abc, 8, 10, 11, 12

9.3 Intersection of two Planes

2010 Iulia & Teodoru Gugoiu - Page 2 of 2

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