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I am getting unexpected plots from PolarPlot when I provide a list of functions that I generate using Table. I suspect the issue is related to the presence of nested lists, but I want to understand how PolarPlot is rendering the nested list of functions.

I expect the output to be a plot showing the curve of each function in my list. I do not know what functional form would generate the plot that I do observe.

For example:

f[a_, b_, c_, t_] := 1 + (1/a)Sin[b + c*t]
t1 = Table[f[a, b, c, t], {a, 3}, {b, 0, Pi/2, Pi/2}, {c, 1}]
PolarPlot[t1, {t, 0, Pi}] (* Not expected result *)
PolarPlot[t1[[1, {1, 2}, {1}]], {t, 0, Pi}] (* Not expected result *)
PolarPlot[Flatten[t1], {t, 0, Pi}] (* Expected result *)
PolarPlot[t1[[1, {1, 2} ,1]],{t, 0, Pi}] (* Expected result *)
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1 Answer

It seems that you have already found the solution: to use Flatten. What happens here is that the Table command with several iteration arguments) creates a set of functions nested like this:

{{ {f1[t]}, {f2[t]} },{ {f3[t]} ,{f4[t]} }, ... }

What Plot wants to see as input (check out the help file by hitting F1 on the word PolarPlot to see the exact wording) is a list of functions like

{f1[t], f2[t], f3[t], ... }

Flatten removes all the curly brackets from the original list to give the desired form.

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Thank you. I think I may be best off to clarify the question as being "How does PolarPlot handle nested lists of functions?" I would like to understand what PolarPlot is doing when it encounters something like {{f1[t]},{f2[t]}} as its first argument. –  James Jun 26 '13 at 23:51
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