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DEVELOPABLE SURFACE

Notion studied by Leonhard
Euler in 1777 and Gaspard Monge in 1775/80.
Other names : torse, torsal surface, flat surface. See this article by Etienne Ghys and this Swedish website. |

Partial differential equation for an explicit surface
z
= f (x, y) (Monge notations):
rt =
s²
(all the points are parabolic).
For an implicit surface f(x,y,z)=0: .
For a ruled surface (S) union of the lines D:
_{u }1) If the lines D
and the line _{u }D
is equal to ).
_{u+du }The point belonging to the cuspidal edge is . Special case in which the parametrization is : tangent developable of the curve . First fundamental quadratic form: ??? 2) The set of lines
where |

Intuitively, a *developable surface* (or *torse*)
is a ruled surface that can roll without
slipping on a plane, the contact being along a line, similarly to a cylinder
or a cone.

The following definitions characterize the developable surfaces:

DEF 1: a developable surface is a ruled surface for which
any generatrix is stationary, i.e. such that the tangent plane of the surface
is the same at any point of the generatrix.

Directly equivalent conditions:

- 1.1 ruled
surface for which the generatrices are parabolic.

- 1.2 ruled surface such that the
principal normal along a generatrix generates a plane;

- 1.3 ruled surface the generatrices
of which are curvature
lines (see
normal surface).

- 1.4 ruled surface such that the
planes parallel to the tangent planes passing by a given point envelope
the *directrix cone* of the surface (union of the lines parallel to
the generatrices passing by the point).

DEF 2: A developable surface is a surface for which every
generatrix intersects with the generatrices infinitely close (cf. above
*D** _{u }*
and

DEF 3: a developable surface is a ruled surface the generatrices of which have an envelope (possibly reduced to a point (case of the cones), or even a point at infinity (case of the cylinders)).

DEF 4: a developable surface is a cone, a cylinder, or
the surface
generated by the tangents of a 3D curve (or, which amounts to the same
thing, the envelope surface of the *osculating* planes of the curve);
this curve is the cuspidal
edge of the surface.

DEF 5: a developable surface is the envelope surface of a family of plane with one parameter.

DEF 6: a developable surface is the polar
developable of a skew curve (i.e. the envelope of the *normal*
planes); the skew curve is then an involute
of the surface.

DEF 7: a developable surface is the envelope surface of
the *rectifying plane* of a 3D curve (planes containing the tangent
and binormal vector); the skew curve is then a geodesic
of the surface and the surface is called *rectifying developable (or
torse)* of this curve; the generatrix passing by *M* (the *rectifying
line*) supports the instant rotation vector of the Frenet frame ;
the point of the cuspidal edge is .

DEF 8: a developable surface is a Monge surface with a linear generatrix (surface generated by the movement of a fixed line on a moving plane all the points of which have a speed vector orthogonal to this plane).

They are the surfaces all the points of which are parabolic (i.e. with zero total curvature or also such that one of the principal curvature radii is infinite); what is remarkable, is that, conversely, any surface without planar point for which all the points are parabolic is included in a developable surface.

The developable surfaces are surfaces applicable
to the plane, and conversely, any surface of class *C*^{2
}applicable to the plane is included in a developable
surface. When a surface is applied onto the plane, it is said to be *developed*.

The class *C*^{2 }condition
is important because we can construct non ruled surfaces of class *C*^{2
}applicable to a plane; it is said that when Darboux
stated in a lecture at École normale supérieure at the end
of the 19th century that "any developable surface is a ruled surface",
the student Henri Lebesgue took out his handkerchief and said: "Show me
the generatrices!" (cf Berger p. 148).

When a developable surface with a cuspidal edge rolls on a plane, the trace of the edge is a curve that has the same relation between the curvilinear abscissa and the curvature (but without torsion) and the tangents are applicable onto one another; inversely, this allows to see a developable surface as the result of the torsion of a plane curve along with its tangents.

Examples:

- the cones

- the cylinders,

- the developable
helicoid (the cuspidal edge of which is a circular helicoid, result
of the torsion of a circle), and

- more generally, the surfaces
of equal slope.

- the tangent
developable of the skew parabola.

- the developable
Möbius strip

- the oloid

See also normal surface.

If the crossties of this rollercoaster railway are extended, we get two developable surfaces. |

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© Robert FERRÉOL 2017