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HISTORY The cycloid is the locus of a point at distance h from the centre of a circle of radius a that rolls along a straight line. The cycloid was first studied by Cusa when he was attempting to find the area of a circle by integration. Mersenne gave the first proper definition of the cycloid and stated the obvious properties such as the length of the base equals the circumference of the rolling circle. Mersenne attempted to find the area under the curve by integration but failed. He posed the question to other mathematicians. The curve was named by Galileo in 1599. In 1639 he wrote to Torricelli about the cycloid, saying that he had been studying its properties for 40 years. Galileo attempted to find the area by comparing its area to that of the generating circle. After he failed to find a mathematical method he resorted to weighing pieces of metal cut into the shape of the cycloid. He found that the ratio of the weights was approximately 3 to 1 but decided that it was not exactly 3, in fact he guessed (wrongly) that the ratio was not rational. Mersenne proposed the problem of the area to Roberval in 1628 and, although he failed at first, it was solved by Roberval in 1634. If a = h then the area under an arch is 3πa2.
In 1658 Christopher Wren showed that the length of a cycloid is four times the diameter of its generating circle. The cycloid has been called "The Helen of Geometers" as it caused frequent quarrels among 17th century mathematicians


The cycloid through the origin. corresponding to the angle through which the rolling circle has rotated. The cycloid satisfies the differential equation: ∞ or as one Area One arch of a cycloid generated by a circle of radius r can be parameterized by with Since we find the area under the arch to be . The map from t to (x. with the derivative tending toward approaches a cusp. measured in radians. y). the Cartesian equation would be The first arch of the cycloid consists of points such that The cycloid is differentiable everywhere except at the cusps where it hits the x-axis. the circle's centre lies at x = rt. y) is a differentiablecurve or parametric curve of class C and the singularity where the derivative is 0 is an ordinary cusp. generated by a circle of radius r. For given t. y = r. Solving for t and replacing. with where t is a real parameter. consists of the points (x.

Direct comparison with the added simple pendulum of the same length but without the cycloid attachment shows that the span style cycloidal pendulum is isochronous. . the cycloidal pendulum gains on the simple pendulum.Arc length The arc length S of one arch is given by IMPORTANCE OF CYCLOID GALILEO’S PENDULUM Two pieces in wood. On the other hand the simple pendulum period depends upon the amplitude of its swing. metal. or plastic shaped in the form of a cycloid may be inverted to form a cusp. If both pendulums are swung through large arcs. regardless of amplitude. between these sides a simple pendulum may be made to oscillate with a cycloid path with a large or small amplitude.