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CHAPTER 8

POLAR COORDINATES

8.1 Polar coordinates system


8.2 Relationship between Cartesian and Polar
Coordinates
8.3 Forming polar equations from Cartesian
equations and vice-versa
8.4 Sketching polar equations
- Method 1: Table
- Method 2: Test of symmetries

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8.1 Polar Coordinates System

Definition:

The polar coordinates of point P is written as an


ordered pair (r ,θ ), that is P ( r ,θ ) where
r - distance from origin to P
θ - angle from polar axis to the line OP

P( r, θ )

θ
O

Note:
(i) θ is positive in anticlockwise direction, and it
is negative in clockwise direction.
(ii) Polar coordinate of a point is not unique.
(iii) A point (− r ,θ ) is in the opposite direction of
point (r ,θ ).

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Example: Plot the following set of points in the
same diagram:

( ) ( ) (− 3,225 )
(a) 3,225 ! , 1,225 ! , !

⎛ π⎞ ⎛ π⎞ ⎛ π⎞
(b) ⎜ 2, ⎟ , ⎜ 2,− ⎟, ⎜ − 2, ⎟
⎝ 3⎠ ⎝ 3⎠ ⎝ 3⎠

a)

b)

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For every point P(r,θ) in , there exist 3
more coordinates that represent the point P.

P ( 2, 450 )

Example:

Find all possible polar coordinates of the points


whose polar coordinates are given as the following:
(
(a) P 1,45!) ( ) (
(b) Q 2,−60 ! (c) R − 1,225 ! )

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8.2 Relationship between Cartesian and Polar
Coordinates

1) Polar Cartesian

x = r cosθ y = r sinθ

2) Cartesian Polar

2 2 y
r= x +y tan θ =
x

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Example: Find the Cartesian coordinates of the
points whose polar coordinates are given as
⎛ 7π ⎞ ⎛ 2π ⎞
(a) ⎜1, ⎟ (b) ⎜ − 4, ⎟ (
(c) 2,−30 ! )
⎝ 4 ⎠ ⎝ 3 ⎠

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Example: Find all polar coordinates of the points
whose rectangular coordinates are given as
(a) (11,5) (b) (0,2 ) (c) (− 4,−4)

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8.3 Forming polar equations from Cartesian
equations and vice-versa.

To change the equation in Cartesian coordinates to polar


coordinates, and conversely, use equation

x = r cos θ y = r sin θ r = x2 + y2

Example: Express the following rectangular equations in


polar equations.

(a) y = x 2 (b) x 2 + y 2 = 16 (c) xy = 1

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Example: Express the following polar equations in
rectangular equations.
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(a) r = 2 sin θ (b) r =
4 cos θ + 5 sin θ

(c) r = 4 cos θ + 4 sin θ (d) r = tan θ secθ

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8.4 Graph Sketching of Polar Equations

There are two methods to sketch a graph of r = f (θ ):


(1) Form a table for r and θ . ( 0 ≤ θ ≤ 2π ).
From the table, plot the (r ,θ ) points.

(2) Symmetry test of the polar equation.


The polar equations is symmetrical
(a) about the x-axis if f (− θ ) = f (θ )
- consider in range [0, 1800] only
(b) about the y-axis if f (π − θ ) = f (θ )
- consider in range [0, 900] and [2700, 3600]
(c) at the origin if f (π + θ ) = f (θ )
- consider in range [0, 1800] or [1800, 3600]

* if symmetry at all, consider in range [0, 900] only.

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Example 1: Sketch the graph of r = 2 sin θ
Solution: (Method 1)
Here is the complete table
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210
0 1.0 1.732 2 1.732 1 0 -1.0

240 270 300 330 360


-1.732 -2 -1.732 -1 0

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Method 2
Symmetrical test for f (θ ) = 2 sin θ
Symmetry Symmetrical test
f (− θ ) = f (θ ) ?

About x-axis

f (π − θ ) = f (θ ) ?

About y-axis

f (π + θ ) = f (θ ) ?

About origin

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Since r symmetry at y-axis, consider in range
[0, 900] and [2700, 3600]
0 30 60 90 270 300 330 360
0 1.0 1.732 2 -2 -1.732 -1 0

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Example 2: Sketch the graph of r = − cos θ
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Symmetry Symmetrical test
f (− θ ) = f (θ ) ?

About x-axis

f (π − θ ) = f (θ ) ?

About y-axis

f (π + θ ) = f (θ ) ?

About origin

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Since r symmetry at x-axis, consider in range
[0, 1800] only.
0 30 60 90 120 150 180
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r = − cos θ
2

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Example 3: Sketch the graph of r = 2 sin 2 θ
Symmetry Symmetrical test
f (− θ ) = f (θ ) ?

About x-axis

f (π − θ ) = f (θ ) ?

About y-axis

f (π + θ ) = f (θ ) ?

About origin

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Since r symmetry at ____________, consider in
range ____________ only.

r = 2 sin 2 θ

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