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Calculus and Vectors How to get an A+

8.4 Vector and Parametric Equations of a Plane

A Planes
A plane may be determined by points and lines, There are four main possibilities as represented in the
following figure:

a) plane determined
by three points

b) plane determined
by two parallel lines

B Vector Equation of a Plane

Let consider a plane .
r
r
Two vectors u and v , parallel to the plane but
not parallel between them, are called direction
vectors of the plane .

c) plane determined
by two intersecting lines

d) plane determined
by a line and a point

Ex 1. A plane is given by the following vector

equation:
r
: r = (1,0,2) + s(0,0,1) + t (1,0,1); s, t R
a) Find two points on this plane.

The vector P0 P from a specific point P0 ( x0 , y0 , z 0 )

to a generic point P( x, y, z ) of the plane is a linear
r
r
combination of direction vectors u and v :
r r
P0 P = su + tv ; s, t R
The vector equation of the plane is:
r

c) Find the vector equation of a line L that passes

through the origin and is perpendicular to this plane.

: r = r0 + su + tv ; s, t R

C Parametric Equations of a Plane

Let write vector equation of the plane as:
( x, y, z ) = ( x0 , y0 , z 0 ) + s (u x , u y , u z ) + t (v x , v y , v z )

Ex 2. Convert the vector equation to the parametric

equations.
r
r = (1,0,2) + s (0,1,1) + t (1,2,0); s, t R

or:
x = x0 + su x + tv x

y = y0 + su y + tv y

z = z 0 + su z + tv z
These are the parametric
equations of a line.

; s, t R

equation.
x = 1 + s 2t

; s, t R
y = 3t
z = 4 s

8.4 Vector and Parametric Equations of a Plane

2010 Iulia & Teodoru Gugoiu - Page 1 of 2

Ex 4. (Plane determined by three points)

Find the vector equation of the plane that
passes through the points A(0,1,1) , B(2,1,0) , and
C (0,0,1) .

Ex 5. (Plane determined by two parallel and distinct

lines)
Find the vector and parametric equations of the plane
that contains the following parallel and distinct lines:
r
L1 : r = (1,2,1) + s (0,1,2); s R
r
L2 : r = (3,4,0) + t (0,1,2); t R

Ex 6. (Plane determined by two intersecting lines)

Find the vector equation of the plane
determined by the following intersecting lines.
r
L1 : r = (0,0,1) + s (1,0,0); s R
r
L2 : r = (3,0,1) + t (0,0,2); t R

Ex 7. (Plane determined by a line and an external point)

Find the vector equation of the plane that passes
through the origin and contains the line
r
L : r = (0,1,2) + t (1,0,3); t R .

Homework: Nelson Textbook: Page 459 #1, 2, 4, 6b, 7, 9, 10, 15
8.4 Vector and Parametric Equations of a Plane
2010 Iulia & Teodoru Gugoiu - Page 2 of 2

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