Equation for the Eiffel Tower

Robert Banks’s book¬†Towing Icebergs, Falling Dominoes,¬†and Other Adventures in Applied Mathematics describes the Eiffel Tower’s shape as approximately the logarithmic curve

y = -y_* \log\left(\frac{x}{x_0} \right )

where y* and x0 are chosen to match the tower’s dimensions.

Here’s a plot of the curve:

Eiffel tower curve plot

And here’s the code that produced the plot:

from numpy import log, exp, linspace, vectorize
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

# Taken from "Towing Icebergs, Falling Dominoes,
# and Other Adventures in Applied Mathematics"
# by Robert B. Banks

# Constants given in Banks in feet. Convert to meters.
feet_to_meter = 0.0254*12
ystar  = 201*feet_to_meter
x0     = 207*feet_to_meter
height = 984*feet_to_meter

# Solve for where to cut off curve to match height of the tower.
# - ystar log xmin/x0 = height
xmin = x0 * exp(-height/ystar)

def f(x):
    if -xmin < x < xmin:
        return height
        return -ystar*log(abs(x/x0))
curve = vectorize(f)
x = linspace(-x0, x0, 400)

plt.plot(x, curve(x))
plt.xlim(-2*x0, 2*x0)
plt.title("Eiffel Tower")


Related post: When length equals area
The St. Louis arch is approximately a catenary, i.e. a hyperbolic cosine.

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