Iterating evolutes of spacial polygons and of spacial curves

Dmitry Fuchs, Serge Tabachnikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The evolute of a smooth curve in an m-dimensional Eu-clidean space is the locus of centers of its osculating spheres, and the evolute of a spacial polygon is the polygon whose consecutive vertices are the centers of the spheres through the consecutive (m+1)-tuples of vertices of the original polygon. We study the iterations of these evo-lute transformations. This work continues the recent study of similar problems in dimension two. Here is a sampler of our results. The set of n-gons with fixed directions of the sides, considered up to parallel translation, is an (n-m)-dimensional vector space, and the second evolute transformation is a linear map of this space. If n = m+2, then the second evolute is homothetic to the original polygon, and if n = m+ 3, then the first and the third evolutes are homothetic. In general, each non-zero eigenvalue of the second evolute map has even multiplicity. We also study curves, with cusps, in 3-dimensional Euclidean space and their evolutes. We provide continuous analogs of the results obtained for polygons, and present a class of curves which are homothetic to their second evolutes; these curves are spacial analogs of the classical hypocycloids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-689
Number of pages23
JournalMoscow Mathematical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Mathematics


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