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In this paper, the energy bands of chiral-type single-walled carbon nanotubes are studied employing a new curvilinear lattice theory and its reciprocal lattice aided by the spherical triangle theory. In this theory, the notion of a distance law is introduced as a constraint to determine the electronic characteristics of carbon nanotubes. The chiral tubes are proven to be semiconducting or metallic, depending on the diameters and helical angles of the tubes. The distance law also predicts an uncertainty for the electronic characteristics of chiral tubes due to the metallic states tightly surrounding the semiconducting states on the direct lattice, and vice versa. Results predicted by the distance law agree well with theoretical calculations of the electron density of states and published measurements.