Helix vs. Spiral

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Helix and Spiral is that the Helix is a smooth space curve and Spiral is a curve which emanates from a point, moving farther away as it revolves around the point.

  • Helix

    A helix (), plural helixes or helices (), is a type of smooth space curve, i.e. a curve in three-dimensional space. It has the property that the tangent line at any point makes a constant angle with a fixed line called the axis. Examples of helices are coil springs and the handrails of spiral staircases. A “filled-in” helix – for example, a “spiral” (helical) ramp – is called a helicoid. Helices are important in biology, as the DNA molecule is formed as two intertwined helices, and many proteins have helical substructures, known as alpha helices. The word helix comes from the Greek word ἕλιξ, “twisted, curved”.

  • Spiral

    In mathematics, a spiral is a curve which emanates from a point, moving farther away as it revolves around the point.

  • Helix (noun)

    A curve on the surface of a cylinder or cone such that its angle to a plane perpendicular to the axis is constant; the three-dimensional curve seen in a screw or a spiral staircase.

  • Helix (noun)

    A small volute under the abacus of a Corinthian capital.

  • Helix (noun)

    The incurved rim of the external ear.

  • Helix (noun)

    An upside down midair 360° spin in playboating.

  • Helix (verb)

    To form or cause to form a helix.

  • Spiral (noun)

    A curve that is the locus of a point that rotates about a fixed point while continuously increasing its distance from that point.

  • Spiral (noun)

    A helix.

  • Spiral (noun)

    A self-sustaining process with a lot of momentum involved, so it is difficult to accelerate or stop it at once.

  • Spiral (adjective)

    Helical, like a spiral

  • Spiral (verb)

    To move along the path of a spiral or helix.

    “The falling leaves spiralled down from the tree.”

  • Spiral (verb)

    To cause something to spiral.

    “You need to learn how to spiral a ball.”

  • Spiral (verb)

    To increase continually.

    “Her debts were spiralling out of control.”


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