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Riding on Square Wheels

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)
Description: A square wheel may be the ultimate flat tire. There's no way it can roll over a flat, smooth road without a sequence of jarring bumps. However, a square wheel can roll smoothly, keeping the axle moving in a straight line and at a constant velocity, if it travels over a road with the right sort of profile. That corrugated surface must consist of evenly spaced bumps, each one the shape of an inverted catenary...

Levels: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Euclidean Plane Geometry

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