## Encyclopedia > Archimedean spiral

Article Content

# Archimedean spiral

An Archimedean spiral is a curve which in polar coordinates (r, θ) can be described by the equation
$r=a+b\theta$
with real numbers a and b. Changing the parameter a will turn the spiral, while b controls the distance between the arms.

This Archimedean spiral is distinguished from the logarithmic spiral by the fact that successive arms have a fixed distance (equal to 2πb if θ is measured in radians), while in a logarithmic spiral these distances form a geometric progression.

Note that the Archimedean spiral has two arms, one for θ > 0 and one for θ < 0. The two arms are smoothly connected at the origin. Only one arm is shown on the accompanying graph. Taking the mirror image of this arm at the y axis will yield the other arm.

Sometimes the term Archimedean spiral is used for the more general group of spirals

$r=a+b\theta^{1\!/\!x}$

The normal Archimedean spiral occurs when x = 1. Other spirals falling into this group include the hyperbolic spiral, Fermat's spiral, and the lituus. Virtually all spirals appearing in nature are logarithmic spirals, not Archimedean ones.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Search Encyclopedia
 Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!

Featured Article
 U.S. presidential election, 1804 ... presidential election, 1804 Presidential CandidateElectoral Vote Party Running Mate(Electoral Votes) Thomas Jefferson (W) 162 Democratic-Republican George ...