<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Dismiss
Skip Navigation

Polar to Rectangular Conversions

Convert from polar to cartesian coordinates

Atoms Practice
Estimated9 minsto complete
%
Progress
Practice Polar to Rectangular Conversions
 
 
 
MEMORY METER
This indicates how strong in your memory this concept is
Practice
Progress
Estimated9 minsto complete
%
Practice Now
Turn In
Polar to Rectangular Conversions

You are hiking one day with friends. When you stop to examine your map, you mark your position on a polar plot with your campsite at the origin, like this

You decide to plot your position on a different map, which has a rectangular grid on it instead of a polar plot. Can you convert your coordinates from the polar representation to the rectangular one?

Converting Polar Coordinates to Rectangular Coordinates

Just as and are usually used to designate the rectangular coordinates of a point, and are usually used to designate the polar coordinates of the point. is the distance of the point to the origin. is the angle that the line from the origin to the point makes with the positive axis.

The diagram below shows both polar and Cartesian coordinates applied to a point . By applying trigonometry, we can obtain equations that will show the relationship between polar coordinates and the rectangular coordinates

The point has the polar coordinates and the rectangular coordinates .

Therefore

These equations, also known as coordinate conversion equations, will enable you to convert from polar to rectangular form.

Converting Coordinates 

Given the following polar coordinates, find the corresponding rectangular coordinates of the points:

For and

The rectangular coordinates of are approximately .

For and

The rectangular coordinates of are or approximately .

Converting Equations 

1. In addition to writing polar coordinates in rectangular form, the coordinate conversion equations can also be used to write polar equations in rectangular form.

Write the polar equation in rectangular form.

The equation is now in rectangular form. The and have been replaced. However, the equation, as it appears, does not model any shape with which we are familiar. Therefore, we must continue with the conversion.

The rectangular form of the polar equation represents a circle with its centre at (2, 0) and a radius of 2 units.

This is the graph represented by the polar equation for or the rectangular form

2. Write the polar equation in rectangular form.

Examples

Example 1

Earlier, you were asked to convert your coordinates from polar representation to the rectangular one. 

You can see from the map that your position is represented in polar coordinates as . Therefore, the radius is equal to 3 and the angle is equal to . The rectangular coordinates of this point can be found as follows:

Example 2

Write the polar equation in rectangular form.

Example 3

Write the polar equation in rectangular form.

Example 4

Write the polar equation in rectangular form.

Review

Given the following polar coordinates, find the corresponding rectangular coordinates of the points.

Write each polar equation in rectangular form.

Review (Answers)

To see the Review answers, open this PDF file and look for section 6.4. 

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes
Please to create your own Highlights / Notes
Show More

Image Attributions

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Polar to Rectangular Conversions.
Please wait...
Please wait...