Distance Between Two Points in Three Dimensions

In Mathematics, to find the distance between the two points in the coordinate plane, we mostly prefer the distance formula. This distance formula is used when we know the coordinates of the two points in the plane. In that case, by substituting those points in the formula, we can easily get the distance between two points. In order to locate the position of a point in a plane or two dimensions, we require a pair of the coordinate axis. The distance of the point from the centre is called x-coordinate (or abscissa) and the distance of the point from is called y-coordinate (or ordinate). The ordered pair (x,y) represents co-ordinate of the point. In this article, we are going to discuss the distance between two points in the 3D plane (three-dimensional plane), formulas and examples in detail.

Distance Between Two Points Formula

Consider two points \(A(x_{1},y_{1})\;and\;B(x_{2},y_{2})\) on the given coordinate axis. The distance between these points is given as:

\(d=\sqrt{(x_{2}-x_{1})^2+(y_{2}-y_{1})^2}\)

Also try: Distance Between Two Points Calculator

How to Find the Distance Between Two Points?

To find the distance between two points in the coordinate plane, follow the procedure given below:

  • To find the distance between two points, take the coordinates of two points such as (x1, y1) and (x2, y2)
  • Use the distance formula (i.e) square root of  (x2 – x1)2 + (y2 – y1)2
  • Calculate the horizontal and vertical distance between two points. Here, the horizontal distance (i.e) (x2 – x1) represents the points in the x-axis, and the vertical distance (i.e) (y2 – y1) represents the points in the y-axis
  • Square both the values such as the square of (x2 – x1) and the square of (y2 – y1)
  • Add both the values (i.e) (x2 – x1)2 + (y2 – y1)2
  • Now, take the square root of the obtained value
  • Thus, the final value gives the distance between two points in the coordinate plane

Distance Between Two Points in 3D

This study can be extended to determine the distance of two points in space. Let the points \(P(x_{1},y_{1},z_{1})\) and \(Q(x_{2},y_{2},z_{2})\) be referred to a system of rectangular axes OX,OY and OZ as shown in the figure.

Distance Between Two Points in 3D

Through the points P and Q, we draw planes parallel to the rectangular coordinate plane such that we get a rectangular parallelepiped with PQ as the diagonal. ∠PAQ forms a right angle and therefore, using the Pythagoras theorem in triangle PAQ,

\(PQ^2= PA^2+AQ^2\)………(1)

Also, in triangle ANQ, ∠ANQ is a right angle. Similarly, applying the Pythagoras theorem in ΔANQ we get,

\(AQ^2=AN^2+NQ^2\)……..(2)

From equations 1 and 2 we have,

\(PQ^2=PA^2+NQ^2+AN^2\)

As co-ordinates of the points, P and Q are known,

\(PA=y_{2}-y_{1}\), \(AN=x_{2}-x_{1}\) and \(NQ=z_{2}-z_{1}\)

Therefore,

\(PQ^2=(x_2-x_1 )^2+(y_2-y_1 )^2+(z_2-z_1 )^2\)

Thus, the formula to find the distance between two points in three-dimension is given by:

\(PQ=\sqrt{(x_2-x_1 )^2+(y_2-y_1 )^2+(z_2-z_1 )^2}\)

This formula gives us the distance between two points \(P(x_1,y_1,z_1)\) and \(Q(x_2,y_2,z_2)\) in three dimensions.

Distance of any point \(Q(x,y,z)\) in space from origin \(O(0,0,0)\), is given by,

\(OQ=\sqrt{(x^2+y^2+z^2)}\)

Distance Between Two Points Examples

Let us go through some examples to understand the distance formula in three dimensions.

Example 1:

Find the distance between the two points given by P(6, 4, -3) and Q(2, -8, 3).

Solution:

Using distance formula to find distance between the points P and Q,

\(PQ=\sqrt{((x_2-x_1 )^2+(y_2-y_1 )^2+(z_2-z_1 )^2 )}\)

\(PQ=\sqrt{(6-2)^2+(4-(-8))^2+(-3-3)^2}\)

\(PQ=\sqrt{(16+144+36)}\)

PQ=14

Example 2: A, B, C are three points lying on the axes x,y and z respectively, and their distances from the origin are given as respectively; then find coordinates of the point which is equidistant from A, B, C and O.

Solution:

Let the required point be P(x, y, z).

Co-ordinates of the points A,B and C are given as (a,0,0), (0,b,0), (0,0,c)  and (0,0,0). As we know that the point P is equidistant from the given points.

Hence, PA = PB = PC = PO

Now, applying the distance formula for PO = PA, we get

\(\sqrt{x^2+y^2+z^2}=\sqrt{(a-x)^2+y^2+z^2}\)

\(x^2+y^2+z^2=(a-x)^2+y^2+z^2\)

\(x^2=(a-x)^2\)

\(x= a/2\)

Similarly applying the distance formula for PO = PB and PO=PC, we get \(y= \frac{b}{2}\) and \(z= \frac{c}{2}\).

Therefore co-ordinates of the point  which are equidistant from the points A,B,C and O is given by\((\frac{a}{2},\;\frac{b}{2},\;\frac{c}{2})\)..

To learn more about three-dimensional geometry, please visit our website www.byjus.com or download BYJU’S- The Learning App.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *