How to Straighten an Inverse Curve

By Eric Smith
An inverse curve can be plotted as a straight line.

An inverse curve is a curve of the general form y = (a/x) + b, where a and b are constants or coefficients. An inverse curve can be plotted as a straight line, which has the general form y = mx + c, where m is the gradient and c is the y-intercept, by calculating the inverse or "reciprocal" of the x coordinates and then replotting them against the original y coordinates. You can straighten a curve to easily determine the coefficients of the inverse curve.

Write down in a table your x and y coordinates.

Plot the x and y points on a graph and draw an inverse curve line of best fit through the points.

Calculate the inverse, 1/x, of every x point and write them in your table of x and y coordinates.

Plot the calculated inverse, 1/x, and corresponding y coordinates on your graph. Add a straight line of best fit to your linearized data.

About the Author

Eric Smith is a freelance writer originally from Leeds, United Kingdom. Graduating from the University of London in 2011 with a Master of Science in natural sciences, Smith is currently studying for a Ph.D. He began writing professionally in 2007, specializing in science, math and technology.