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Math Help - determine coplanar points

  1. #1
    Newbie VeronicaMarie's Avatar
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    Question determine coplanar points

    how do i determine whether the given points are coplanar? do i just draw them in a 3D plane?
    Last edited by VeronicaMarie; April 24th 2010 at 03:57 PM.
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  2. #2
    MHF Contributor
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    Quote Originally Posted by VeronicaMarie View Post
    how do i determine whether the given points are coplanar? do i just draw them in a 3D plane?
    It depends by the way the points are given (coordinates, ...)
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  3. #3
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    The cross product of two vectors will be perpendicular to the plane containing both vectors. And that means that the dot product of that perpendicular with any vector in the plane will be 0. That is, \vec{u}\cdot (\vec{v}\times\vec{w})= 0.

    To form vectors from one point to another, subtract the coordinates. That will give the three vectors forming the three sides of the triangle with the points as vertices.

    The "triple product" above can be easily calculated by finding the 3 by 3 determinant having the vectors as rows. The points are co-planar if and only if that determinant is 0.
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