Envelopes of hypersurfaces arise in many different geometric situations. For example, the canal surfaces associated with a space curve can be obtained as the envelope of spheres of a fixed radius centred on that curve. (Other examples can be found in , chapter II and , chapter 5). In what follows we shall be entirely concerned with the local structure of such envelopes. So essentially we have a smooth map germ with 0 a regular value of the restriction of F to . For near 0 we have a smooth hypersurface near , where . The envelope of this family of hypersurfaces is obtained by eliminating t from the equations . Moreover, it can be identified with the discriminant of F viewed as an unfolding, by the x variables, of the function germ . This observation, together with standard results on versal unfoldings of functions, allows one to determine the local structure of many ‘generic’ geometric envelopes. See  for details.
|Journal||Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society|
|Publication status||Published - 1986|