# Thread: Difficulty Calculating the Principal Unit Normal Vector.

1. ## Difficulty Calculating the Principal Unit Normal Vector.

Hi,

I am having difficulties find the principal unit normal vector N(t) for the vector function

$\\r(t)=(t,4-t^2,0)$.

I have worked up to this point:

$\\r(t)=(t,4-t^2,0); -2\leq t\leq 2$
$\\r'(t)=(1,-2t,0)$
$\\r'(t) \right \|=\sqrt(1+4t^2)$
$\\T(t)=<\frac{1}{\sqrt(1+4t^2)},\frac{-2t}{\sqrt(1+4t^2)},0>$

I know that I need to take the derivative of this, and devide it by its length to find the princiipal normal vector; however, I am not sure how to do this!

Thanks!

2. ## Re: Difficulty Calculating the Principal Unit Normal Vector.

I have either made progress or gone the wrong direction. Either way, here is the work that I have done since I made this question:
I first factored the $(1+4t^2)^(-1/2)$, leaving <1,-2t,0> as the vector. Then, to multiply the two, I set $(1+4t^2)^(-1/2)$ as “u” and <1,-2t,0> as “v” to use the product rule. I found the derivative of “u” to be $frac {-(1+4t^2)^{-3/2}}{2}8t$, which further simplifies to $frac {-4t(1+4t^2)^{-3/2}}$, which I multiplied against the scalar. I did the same with taking the derivative of the vector, and multiplying it by the $(1+4t^2)^(-1/2)$.
At the end, I know have:
$<-4t(1+4t^2)\tfrac{-3}{2},8t^3,0> + <0,-2(1+4t^2)^{^{1/2}},0>\$

3. ## Re: Difficulty Calculating the Principal Unit Normal Vector.

Originally Posted by SC313
Hi,

I am having difficulties find the principal unit normal vector N(t) for the vector function

$\\r(t)=(t,4-t^2,0)$.

I have worked up to this point:

$\\r(t)=(t,4-t^2,0); -2\leq t\leq 2$
$\\r'(t)=(1,-2t,0)$
$\\r'(t) \right \|=\sqrt(1+4t^2)$
$\\T(t)=<\frac{1}{\sqrt(1+4t^2)},\frac{-2t}{\sqrt(1+4t^2)},0>$

I know that I need to take the derivative of this, and devide it by its length to find the princiipal normal vector; however, I am not sure how to do this!

Thanks!
$\frac{dT}{dt}=\left<\frac{-4 t}{(4 t^2+1)^{3/2}}\,,\ \frac{-2}{(4 t^2+1)^{3/2}}\,,\ 0\right>$

Divide this by it's magnitude.

4. ## Re: Difficulty Calculating the Principal Unit Normal Vector.

Originally Posted by SammyS
$\frac{dT}{dt}=\left<\frac{-4 t}{(4 t^2+1)^{3/2}}\,,\ \frac{-2}{(4 t^2+1)^{3/2}}\,,\ 0\right>$

Divide this by it's magnitude.
Where do you get this from? Thanks!

5. ## Re: Difficulty Calculating the Principal Unit Normal Vector.

Originally Posted by SC313
Where do you get this from? Thanks!
I took the derivative of T(t) that you had in your OP.

6. ## Re: Difficulty Calculating the Principal Unit Normal Vector.

Okay, I see now. And how do I find the magnitude of this..., and divide the number by this? It's so confusing. thanks by the way

7. ## Re: Difficulty Calculating the Principal Unit Normal Vector.

Magnitude: Square root of the sum of the squares of the components.

At least they have a common denominator.