Conical coordinates

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Coordinate surfaces of the conical coordinates. The constants b and c were chosen as 1 and 2, respectively. The red sphere represents r=2, the blue elliptic cone aligned with the vertical z-axis represents μ=cosh(1) and the yellow elliptic cone aligned with the (green) x-axis corresponds to ν2 = 2/3. The three surfaces intersect at the point P (shown as a black sphere) with Cartesian coordinates roughly (1.26, -0.78, 1.34). The elliptic cones intersect the sphere in taco-shaped curves.

Conical coordinates are a three-dimensional orthogonal coordinate system consisting of concentric spheres (described by their radius r) and by two families of perpendicular cones, aligned along the z- and x-axes, respectively.

Basic definitions[edit]

The conical coordinates (r, \mu, \nu) are defined by

x = \frac{r\mu\nu}{bc}

y = \frac{r}{b} \sqrt{\frac{\left( \mu^{2} - b^{2} \right) \left( \nu^{2} - b^{2} \right)}{\left( b^{2} - c^{2} \right)} }

z = \frac{r}{c} \sqrt{\frac{\left( \mu^{2} - c^{2} \right) \left( \nu^{2} - c^{2} \right)}{\left( c^{2} - b^{2} \right)} }

with the following limitations on the coordinates

\nu^{2} < c^{2} < \mu^{2} < b^{2}

Surfaces of constant r are spheres of that radius centered on the origin

x^{2} + y^{2} + z^{2} = r^{2}

whereas surfaces of constant \mu and \nu are mutually perpendicular cones

\frac{x^{2}}{\mu^{2}} + \frac{y^{2}}{\mu^{2} + b^{2}} + \frac{z^{2}}{\mu^{2} - c^{2}} = 0

\frac{x^{2}}{\nu^{2}} + \frac{y^{2}}{\nu^{2} - b^{2}} + \frac{z^{2}}{\nu^{2} + c^{2}} = 0

In this coordinate system, both Laplace's equation and the Helmholtz equation are separable.

Scale factors[edit]

The scale factor for the radius r is one (h_{r} = 1), as in spherical coordinates. The scale factors for the two conical coordinates are

h_{\mu} = r \sqrt{\frac{\mu^{2} - \nu^{2}}{\left( b^{2} - \mu^{2} \right) \left( \mu^{2} - c^{2} \right)}}

h_{\nu} = r \sqrt{\frac{\mu^{2} - \nu^{2}}{\left( b^{2} - \nu^{2} \right) \left( c^{2} - \nu^{2} \right)}}



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External links[edit]