Dr. J's Maths.com

**Where the techniques of Maths**

are explained in simple terms.

are explained in simple terms.

Functions - non-linear - Quadratics.

Comparison between a Parabola and a Catenary.

- Algebra & Number
- Calculus
- Financial Maths
- Functions & Quadratics
- Geometry
- Measurement
- Networks & Graphs
- Probability & Statistics
- Trigonometry
- Maths & beyond
- Index

There is another curve to mention in passing.
It is the CATENARY curve. Its equation is . It looks like a parabola, feels like a parabola - but it is not a parabola. The graph to the right shows that, while the parabola and the catenary pass through four points in common (± 1.62, 2.63) |

We do not need much consideration of the catenary in this website at present. Suffice it to show three examples of every-day situations in which we see a catenary and not a parabola.

Chains follow the path of a catenary - even those which are suspended in streets and pedestrian malls. |
Power lines - like these in the Oklohama Panhandle- suspended between poles of big structures trace out a catenary form |

Many suspension bridges - like the Wakato Bridge in Fukoka, Japan - show a catenary in their curve - although this path sometimes converts to a parabola when the bridge is under load. |

A good reference showing how a catenary curve in engineering can become a parabola was posted by Weimeng Lu.