WHAT IS AN ELLIPSE?

SIMPLE DESCRIPTION

An Ellipse is the shape resulting from cutting a cone at an angle

The circular cone seen below, has been ‘sliced’ by an intersecting plane. This can be seen in diagram C, which shows the upper part of the cone removed, revealing the ellipse shape.
Ellipses are important shapes in engineering, design, mathematics and geometry.

Below is a more detailed geometrical drawing, showing the real shape of the ellipse. The upper part of the cone has been cutaway at an angle. This leaves behind the ellipse shape. The technique used here is called a ‘Conic Section’.

Ellipses are important to designers and engineers because their shape can be applied to a range of interesting fields. In Architecture many rooms and buildings are based on ellipse shapes because they have excellent sound resonance properties (for example: modern opera / music auditoriums). In carpentry, the ellipse shape is sometimes applied to the shape of furniture / parts of furniture.
In general, an ellipse is a comfortable and aesthetically pleasant shape.

LABELLED DIAGRAM OF AN ELLIPSE