Catenary: The Hanging Chain

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A catenary is formed by a hanging flexible chain, suspended from its ends and carrying only its own weight. Galileo Galilei (ca. 1600) believed that the chain would be a parabola. He wasn't right, yet he was close. Move the end points and change the length within reasonable limits, while toggling among plots of catenary, a parabola, and their magnified absolute difference.

Contributed by: Borut Levart (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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