Coordinate Systems

Rectangular or "Cartesian" coordinatesCylindrical Polar CoordinatesSpherical Polar Coordinates
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Rectangular or "Cartesian" Coordinates

The most common coordinate system for representing positions in space is one based on three perpendicular spatial axes generally designated x, y, and z.

Any point P may be represented by three signed numbers, usually written (x, y, z) where the coordinate is the perpendicular distance from the plane formed by the other two axes.

Often positions are specified by a position vector r which can be expressed in terms of the coordinate values and associated unit vectors.


Although the entire coordinate system can be rotated, the relationship between the axes is fixed in what is called a right-handed coordinate system.

The distance between any two points in rectangular coordinates can be found from the distance relationship



Operations in rectangular coordinates.

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Operations in Cartesian Coordinates

Distance between points
Vector calculus operations

Divergence


Gradient


Curl


LaPlacian


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