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The circumference is the distance around a closed curve. Circumference is a kind of perimeter.


The circumference of a circle can be calculated from its diameter using the formula:

c = πd

Or, substituting the radius for the diameter:

c = 2πr

Where r is the radius and d is the diameter of the circle, and π (the Greek letter pi) is the constant 3.141 592 6...


The circumference of an ellipse is more problematical, the exact solution being an infinite series. A good approximation is Ramanujan's:

c \approx \pi (3(a+b) - \sqrt{(3a+b)(a+3b)})

where a and b are the ellipse's semi-major and semi-minor axes, respectively. The two are related by the ellipse's eccentricity as follows:

b = a \sqrt{1-e^2}

Which means the circumference can also be written as:

c \approx \pi a (3(1+\sqrt{1-e^2}) - \sqrt{(3+ \sqrt{1-e^2})(1+3 \sqrt{1-e^2})}) = \pi a (3(1+\sqrt{1-e^2}) - \sqrt{3(2-e^2)+10 \sqrt{1-e^2}})

External link

  • Numericana - Circumference of an ellipse

Last updated: 02-10-2005 01:52:47
Last updated: 02-11-2005 17:47:38