Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Deriving the equation of points for exact fitting and shape analysis

  1. Nov 29, 2012 #1

    I would like to ask you some questions.

    1) I've a closed curve (for example an ellipse, which may represent the contour of an object) represented by the set of its (known) points. I need to find the equation of that curve to pass through all and every point (exact fit). I think that to do this I need a polynomial whose grade is equal to the number of points less 1.

    Something like this:

    a0+a1 x1+a2 x1^2+ ...+ an x1^n = y1
    a0+a2 x2+a2 x2^2+ ...+ an x2^n = y2
    a0+a2 xn+a2 xn^2+ ...+ an xn^n = yn

    This argument is right? Do you have suggestions (or anything else relevant) for me in this regard for which is the best way to solve my problem? This equation can be made in parametric form?

    2) After I got the exact equation of this curve. Suppose we have a set of curves very similar to each other (represented by their equation), I would like to find the equation that represents the shape which best approaches to all previous curves, a sort of average curve created from those previously acquired.
    Do you know if this thing can be done and how? What is the best way (most efficient and / or mathematically more correct) to do this?

    Best Regards,

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    It's not clear what you want. Given any finite number of points, there exist an infinite number of smooth curves passing through those points. In particular, given n points, there exist a unique n- 1 degree polynomial giving those points. The "Lagrange Polynomial", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrange_polynomial, is probably the simplest method in concept though not always simplest to compute.
  4. Nov 29, 2012 #3
    If you have matlab, you can also fit a spline.


    Bezier curves are also widely used. These are two of the most popular methods for these kinds of problems and are commonly used to generate the equation for a smooth solid body, e.g. an airfoil profile. They are a bit involved to code, but you can still use software to generate the functions for you.
  5. Nov 29, 2012 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook