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# Geometry on a Monge patch

## - By Benny van Zuiden -

15 - February - 2012
Imagine you are walking on a curved surface where your planar
position is x =
( x, y ) and your altitude is given by the, at least C , scalar eld f
( x, y ) such 2
that embeded in 3d euclidian space your coordinates are r = ( x,
y, f ( x, y )) .
This is called a Monge patch. On a monge patch an innitesimal line
element
in such a form is then given by : 1
d s = d x + d y + d z = d x + d y + d f2 2 2 2 2 2 2
= (1 + f )d x + (1 + f )d y + f f (d x d y + d y d
x ) 22 22
xyx y
Hence the metric tensor for this curvature is then given by :2
f ff2
g =1+ xy (1) x
f f 1 + f 2
xy y
with its determinant:
g =1+ f + f (2) 2
2
xy
and its inverse:
1+ f -ff2
g =1 xy (3) y
-ff 1+ f1+ f + f
2 2 2
xy xxy
From the metric tensor we can derive the Christoel symbols by denition
:3
G =g ( g + g - g) 1
2
or by using the Euler-Lagrange equations with the Lagrangian:
2 L = r = (1 + f ) x + (1 + f ) y + 2 f f
x y (4) 2 2 22
x y x
y
Working this out, in both ways, we obtain the following Christoel
symbols:
ff
G =
(5)
1 + f + f 2 2
xy
Hence we obtain the geodesic equations for a Monge patch:
x + x +2 f fx y + f fy =0 f f 2
2 x xy x y y x xx
1+ f + f 1+ f + f 1+ f + f 2 2 22 22

(6) x y xy

y + f f x +2 f f x y + f f y =02
2 y xx yxy yyy
1+ f + f 1+ f + f 1+ f + f 2 2 22 22
xy xy xy

## Throughout this document f and f denote and respectively. f f1

x y x y
Greek indices are either x or y . 2
Christoel symbols are not tensors. 3

1
If we imply boundary conditions on equation (6) to be
given by x (0) = a ,
x
x (1) = b , y (0) = a and y (1) = b we nd a set
equations that de-
x y y
scribe a parametrization for the shortest path between
( a , a , f ( a , a )) and
xy xy
( b , b , f ( b , b )) . Note that if f ( x, y ) = 0 we obtain
straight lines, as ex-
xyxy
pected.

## We will continue by deriving an analogy to Newtons

equations on a Monge
patch. In order to do so, we will use the Variational
principle in classical
mechanics, where the Lagrangian L = T - V . We
dene the classical La-
c
grangian as follows:
2 L =mr - V
= mL - V
(7) 1 1
c2 2
Using again the Euler-Lagrange equations, but now on
L , we obtain:
c
- = m - + V = 0d L L 1 d
L L
c c
x
dt x x2dt x x
- =m - + V = 0d L L 1
d L L
c c
ydt y
y 2 d t
y y
Hence we obtain the Monge patch analogy to Newtons
equations:
x (1 + f ) + f f x + 2 f f x y + f f y +
ffy + V =02 2 2
x xx x xy x yy x y x x
(8)
y (1 + f ) + f f y +2ffy x + ffx +
ffx + V =02 2 2
y yy y xy y xx xy yy
Which can also be written as:
f
f
V
-
(1
+
f2
)
V
m

x
+

x
+

2
G

x
y
+

y
=
x
2
x
x
2
xy
y
xy

xx xy yy 1+ f + f 22 (9) x
y

my +Gx + 2G x y +Gy = ff
V - (1+ f 2 ) V y 2 y y2
x y
x
yx
xx xy yy 1+ f + f 2 2
xy

## In order to solve equation (8) and/or (9) boundary

conditions must be given.
An interesting conclusion is that the Geodesic equation is
some sort of ac-
celeration, which is to be expected as it has a the
dimension of length per
second per second, as accelerations are supposed to. Note
that if f ( x, y ) = 0
we obtain Newton's original equations: mx = -V
and m y = - V .
x
y
Another useful quantity when working with geometry is
the normal vector n
on the Monge patch surface which can be easily found as
follows :4
r r
n = = ( - f , - f , 1)
(10)
x y xy
Now if we take the (Pythagorean) norm of n we
obtain the surface element:
v
n =g .
Here denotes the cross product for vectors. 4

2
The Riemann curvature tensor is the commutator of the
the covariant deriva-
tives : x = x + G x . The Riemann curvature tensor is
given by: 5

R = G - G +G G - GG
s s s s s
Substituting the Christoel symbols for a Monge patch (5)
we may obtain
the Riemann tensor explicitly. We will however skip this
exercise and directly
nd the Ricci tensor as this tensor is far more important;
we're not interested
in the Weyl part anyway. We will nd the Ricci tensor by
contracting the
Riemann tensor. Hence:
ff - f2 1+ f f f2
xx yy R = xy xy
(11) x
f f 1+
f 1 +
f + f )
2 2 22
xy y
xy
Taking the trace of the Ricci tensor we may nd the Ricci
scalar:

ff - f2
xx yy R =
gR =2
xy
(12)
(1 + f + f ) 2 2 2
xy
For fun we derive the Einstein tensor with its property
G = 0 here:

G = R - R g = 0
(13) 1
2
With the Ricci scalar we may derive the Gaussian
curvature :6

ff - f2
K =
xx yy xy
R =
(14) 1
(1 + f + f ) 2
2 22
xy
Since there are a whole bunch of denitions concerning
surface curvature we
would like some fundamental quantities that can express
all other quantities.
These quantities exist and are called the rst and second
fundamental form.
The rst fundamental form are the components of the
metric tensor g.

The second fundamental form is dened by the matrix
components of the
following equation : 7

n f
n r = r =
(15)
n 1 + f + f 2 2
x

y
x is index notation for the components x , meaning x = x
and x = y . 5 x y
The initial relation in the following equation only holds in on
surfaces. 6
r denotes r . 7

3
Hence we dene the second fundamental form to be:

f
f
I = n r = 1
(16) xx xy
f
f

f
+

f
2
2
xy
yy
xy
With its determinant:
ff - f2
xx yy I = xy
(17)
1+ f + f22
xy
Now notice the Gaussian curvature also found in equation
(14) can also be
obtained by K = . Furthermore we can also nd the mean
curvature: I
g

f ) f + (1 + f ) f
- 2fff2 2
yy xx x y xy
H = g I = (1
+x y
(18) 1
2
2 (1 + f +
f ) 2 23
xy
And the shape operator given by S = Ig:

(1 + f ) f - f f f (1 + f ) f - f f
f2 2
xx x y xy xy x y xx y
x S = 1
(19)
g (1 + f ) f - f f f (1 + f ) f - f f f 2
23
xy x y yy yy x y xy y
x
The shape operator has all the important properties for
curved surfaces, as
its determinant is the Gaussian curvature, half its trace is
the mean curvature
and its eigenvalues are the principal curvatures. The
eigenvalues of S are

given here : 8
v
= H +H - K = H -vH - K
(20) 2 2
1 2
Note that the Gaussian curvature and the mean curvature
are the pro duct
or sum of the and respectively.
1 2