In classical geometry, a radius (plural: radii) of a circle or sphere is any of the from its center to its perimeter, and in more modern usage, it is also their length. The name comes from the latin radius, meaning ray but also the spoke of a chariot wheel. Definition of Radius at dictionary.reference.com. Accessed on 2009-08-08. The plural of radius can be either radii (from the Latin plural) or the conventional English plural radiuses. The typical abbreviation and mathematical variable name for radius is R or r. By extension, the diameter D is defined as twice the radius: Definition of radius at mathwords.com. Accessed on 2009-08-08.
If an object does not have a center, the term may refer to its circumradius, the radius of its circumscribed circle or circumscribed sphere. In either case, the radius may be more than half the diameter, which is usually defined as the maximum distance between any two points of the figure. The inradius of a geometric figure is usually the radius of the largest circle or sphere contained in it. The inner radius of a ring, tube or other hollow object is the radius of its cavity.
For , the radius is the same as its circumradius.Barnett Rich, Christopher Thomas (2008), Schaum's Outline of Geometry, 4th edition, 326 pages. McGraw-Hill Professional. , . Online version accessed on 2009-08-08. The inradius of a regular polygon is also called apothem. In graph theory, the radius of a graph is the minimum over all vertices u of the maximum distance from u to any other vertex of the graph.Jonathan L. Gross, Jay Yellen (2006), Graph theory and its applications. 2nd edition, 779 pages; CRC Press. , 9781584885054. Online version accessed on 2009-08-08.
The radius of the circle that passes through the three non-collinear points , , and is given by
where is the angle . This formula uses the law of sines. If the three points are given by their coordinates , , and , the radius can be expressed as
The radius of a regular polygon with sides of length is given by , where Values of for small values of are given in the table. If then these values are also the radii of the corresponding regular polygons.
The fixed point (analogous to the origin of a Cartesian system) is called the pole, and the ray from the pole in the fixed direction is the polar axis. The distance from the pole is called the radial coordinate or radius, and the angle is the angular coordinate, polar angle, or azimuth.
The axis is variously called the cylindrical or longitudinal axis, to differentiate it from the polar axis, which is the ray that lies in the reference plane, starting at the origin and pointing in the reference direction.
The distance from the axis may be called the radial distance or radius, while the angular coordinate is sometimes referred to as the angular position or as the azimuth. The radius and the azimuth are together called the polar coordinates, as they correspond to a two-dimensional polar coordinate system in the plane through the point, parallel to the reference plane. The third coordinate may be called the height or altitude (if the reference plane is considered horizontal), longitudinal position, or axial position. "[...]where r, θ, and z are cylindrical coordinates [...] as a function of axial position[...]"