The Reuleaux Triangle (Square Drill Bit)

The reuleaux triangle is formed by the intersection of three identical circles passing through the centers of each other. Not only is it a shape with constant width (so that you can use it as a "wheel"), it also has real life applications. Here is how the reuleaux triangle is applied to drill a square hole. If the reuleaux triangle is simply rotated about the circumcenter, of course it traces a circle. However, if the circumcenter follows a circular path, and the reuleaux triangle spins at a certain speed, the trace actually looks like a square! On this worksheet, you can explore how the sizes of the objects affect the trace of the reuleaux triangle. Also, if the triangle spins in a different speed with its center, do you still get a square shape? Here are several more questions for you. Is it possible to create a shape that resembles a square even more? Does the path of the circumcenter have to be circular? How does this help making a square drill bit? Is it practical to have such a non-circular path in a drill bit?



Resource Type
bit  circle  drill  reuleaux  rotate  rotor  spin  square  triangle 
Target Group (Age)
15 – 18
English (United States)
GeoGebra version
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Derived Resources
the reuleaux triangle-1
Shared by sonom
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