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Q:

# What are real life examples of conic sections?

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Some real-life examples of conic sections are the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen, which reveals an ellipse in cross-section, and the fountains of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, which comprise a parabolic chorus line, according to Jill Britton, a mathematics instructor at Camosun College. The conics curves include the ellipse, parabola and hyperbola.

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The ellipse is the most common conic curve frequently seen in everyday life because each circle appears elliptical when viewed obliquely, states Britton. For example, the surface of water in a glass obtains an elliptical outline when the glass is tilted. Salami is usually cut obliquely to acquire elliptical slices. The orbits of the earth's artificial satellites and the moon are elliptical as well as the paths of comets that permanently orbit the sun. Another elliptic structure is the Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capital building. An elliptical billiard table demonstrates the ability of the ellipse to rebound an object beginning from one focus to another, causing a ball to rebound to the other focus when positioned at a certain focus and thrust with a cue stick.

A real-life example of a parabola is a baseball being hit into the air and following a parabolic path, explains Britton. The center of gravity of a jumping porpoise also describes a parabola.

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Turtle shells, honeycombs, raspberries, quilts, fish scales and the art of M.C. Escher are just a few examples of real-life tessellations. Tessellations are patterns that repeat over and over without overlapping or leaving any gaps. Additional examples are snake skins, pineapples, origami and tile floors.

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Real life examples of parallelograms include tables, desks, arrangements of streets on a map, boxes, building blocks, paper and the Dockland office building in Hamburg, Germany. A parallelogram is a two-dimensional shape that has opposite sides that are equal in length and parallel to each other, and opposite angles that are equal. Rectangles, squares and rhombuses are all parallelograms, so any object that has one of these shapes is a parallelogram.

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Real-life examples of solubility include adding sugar to hot coffee, stirring a bouillon packet into hot water and taking medications that quickly absorb into the blood stream. A negative example of solubility is the dissolving of toxic metals and chemicals into a water supply.