David Orden, Günter Rote, Francisco Santos, Brigitte Servatius, Herman Servatius, and Walter Whiteley:

Non-crossing frameworks with non-crossing reciprocals

Discrete and Computational Geometry 32 (2004), 567–600. (Special issue in honor of Lou Billera), doi:10.1007/s00454-004-1139-x, arXiv:math/0309156 [math.MG].


We study non-crossing frameworks in the plane for which the classical reciprocal on the dual graph is also non-crossing. We give a complete description of the self-stresses on non-crossing frameworks G whose reciprocals are non-crossing, in terms of: the types of faces (only pseudo-triangles and pseudo-quadrangles are allowed); the sign patterns in the stress on G; and a geometric condition on the stress vectors at some of the vertices.

As in other recent papers where the interplay of non-crossingness and rigidity of straight-line plane graphs is studied, pseudo-triangulations show up as objects of special interest. For example, it is known that all planar Laman circuits can be embedded as a pseudo-triangulation with one non-pointed vertex. We show that for such pseudo-triangulation embeddings of planar Laman circuits which are sufficiently generic, the reciprocal is non-crossing and again a pseudo-triangulation embedding of a planar Laman circuit. For a singular (non-generic) pseudo-triangulation embedding of a planar Laman circuit, the reciprocal is still non-crossing and a pseudo-triangulation, but its underlying graph may not be a Laman circuit. Moreover, all the pseudo-triangulations which admit a non-crossing reciprocal arise as the reciprocals of such, possibly singular, stresses on pseudo-triangulation Laman circuits.

All self-stresses on a planar graph correspond to liftings to piece-wise linear surfaces in 3-space. We prove characteristic geometric properties of the lifts of such non-crossing reciprocal pairs.

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