# Applications of the Pythagorean Theorem

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1 9.5 Applications of the Pythagorean Theorem 9.5 OBJECTIVE 1. Apply the Pythagorean theorem in solving problems Perhaps the most famous theorem in all of mathematics is the Pythagorean theorem. The theorem was named for the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, born in 572 B.C. Pythagoras was the founder of the Greek society the Pythagoreans. Although the theorem bears Pythagoras name, his own work on this theorem is uncertain because the Pythagoreans credited new discoveries to their founder. Rules and Properties: The Pythagorean Theorem For every right triangle, the square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the legs. c b NOTE Here we use c to represent the length of the hypotenuse. c 2 a 2 b 2 a Eample 1 Verifying the Pythagorean Theorem Verify the Pythagorean theorem for the given triangles. (a) For the right triangle below, (b) For the right triangle below,

2 732 CHAPTER 9 EXPONENTS AND RADICALS CHECK YOURSELF 1 Verify the Pythagorean theorem for the right triangle shown The Pythagorean theorem can be used to find the length of one side of a right triangle when the lengths of the two other sides are known. Eample 2 Solving for the Length of the Hypotenuse Find length. NOTE Notice will be longer than the given sides because it is the hypotenuse so 15 or 15 We reject this solution because a length must be positive. CHECK YOURSELF 2 Find length Sometimes, one or more of the lengths of the sides may be represented by an irrational number. NOTE You can approimate 313 (or 127) with the use of a calculator. Eample 3 Solving for the Length of the Leg Find length. Then use your calculator to give an approimation to the nearest tenth

3 APPLICATIONS OF THE PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM SECTION but distance cannot be negative, so 127 So is approimately 5.2. CHECK YOURSELF 3 Find length and approimate it to the nearest tenth. 6 The Pythagorean theorem can be applied to solve a variety of geometric problems. Eample 4 Solving for the Length of the Diagonal Find, to the nearest tenth, the length of the diagonal of a rectangle that is centimeters (cm) long and 5 cm wide. Let be the unknown length of the diagonal: NOTE Always draw and label a sketch showing the information from a problem when geometric figures are involved. 5 5 A right triangle NOTE Again, distance cannot be negative, so we eliminate 19. So Thus 9.4 cm CHECK YOURSELF 4 The diagonal of a rectangle is 12 inches (in.) and its width is 6 in. Find its length to the nearest tenth. The net application also makes use of the Pythagorean theorem.

4 734 CHAPTER 9 EXPONENTS AND RADICALS Eample 5 Solving an Application NOTE Always check to see if your final answer is reasonable. How long must a guywire be to reach from the top of a 30-foot (ft) pole to a point on the ground 20 ft from the base of the pole? Again be sure to draw a sketch of the problem. 20 ft 30 ft ft CHECK YOURSELF 5 A 16-ft ladder leans against a wall with its base 4 ft from the wall. How far off the floor is the top of the ladder? To find the distance between any two points in the plane, we use a formula derived from the Pythagorean theorem. Definitions: Pythagorean Theorem NOTE A distance is always positive, so we use only the principal square root. Given a right triangle in which c is the length of the hypotenuse, we have the equation c 2 a 2 b 2 We can rewrite the formula as c 2a 2 b 2 We use this form of the Pythagorean theorem in Eample 6. Eample 6 Finding the Distance Between Two Points Find the distance from (2, 3) to (5, 7). The distance can be seen as the hypotenuse of a right triangle. y (5, 7) c b (2, 3) a (5, 3) The lengths of the two legs can be found by finding the difference of the two coordinates and the difference of the two y coordinates. So a and b 7 3 4

5 APPLICATIONS OF THE PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM SECTION The distance, c, can then be found using the formula c 2a 2 b 2 or, in this case c c The distance is 5 units. CHECK YOURSELF 6 Find the distance between (0, 2) and (5, 14). If we call our points ( 1, y 1 ) and ( 2, y 2 ), we can state the distance formula. Definitions: Distance Formula The distance between points ( 1, y 1 ) and ( 2, y 2 ) can be found using the formula d 2( 2 1 ) 2 (y 2 y 1 ) 2 Eample 7 Finding the Distance Between Two Points Find the distance between ( 2, 5) and (2, 3). Simplify the radical answer. Using the formula, d 2[2 ( 2)] 2 [( 3) 5] 2 2(4) 2 ( ) NOTE CHECK YOURSELF 7 Find the distance between (2, 5) and ( 5, 2). Simplify the radical answer. In Eample 7, you were asked to find the distance between ( 2, 5) and (2, 3). y ( 2, 5) (2, 3)

6 736 CHAPTER 9 EXPONENTS AND RADICALS To form a right triangle, we include the point ( 2, 3) ( 2, 5) y ( 2, 3) (2, 3) Note that the lengths of the two sides of the right triangle are 4 and. By the Pythagorean theorem, the hypotenuse must have length The distance formula is an application of the Pythagorean theorem. Using the square root key on a calculator, it is easy to approimate the length of a diagonal line. This is particularly useful in checking to see if an object is square or rectangular. Eample Approimating Length with a Calculator Approimate the length of the diagonal of a rectangle. The diagonal forms the hypotenuse of a triangle with legs 12.2 in. and 15.7 in. The length of the diagonal would be in. Use your calculator to confirm the approimation in in. CHECK YOURSELF Approimate the length of the diagonal of the rectangle to the nearest tenth in in. CHECK YOURSELF ANSWERS ; ; ; or approimately Length is approimately 10.4 in. 5. The height is approimately 15.5 ft in.

7 Name 9.5 Eercises Section Date Find the length in each triangle. Epress your answer in simplified radical form. ANSWERS In eercises 7 to 12, epress your answer to the nearest thousandth. 7. Length of a diagonal. Find the length of the diagonal of a rectangle with a length of 10 centimeters (cm) and a width of 7 cm.. Length of a diagonal. Find the length of the diagonal of a rectangle with 5 inches (in.) width and 7 in. length. 9. Width of a rectangle. Find the width of a rectangle whose diagonal is 12 feet (ft) and whose length is 10 ft. 10. Length of a rectangle. Find the length of a rectangle whose diagonal is 9 in. and whose width is 6 in. 11. Length of a wire. How long must a guywire be to run from the top of a 20-ft pole to a point on the ground ft from the base of the pole? 737

8 ANSWERS Height of a ladder. The base of a 15-ft ladder is 5 ft away from a wall. How high from the floor is the top of the ladder? Find the altitude of each triangle Length of insulation. A homeowner wishes to insulate her attic with fiberglass insulation to conserve energy. The insulation comes in 40-cm wide rolls that are cut to fit between the rafters in the attic. If the roof is 6 meters (m) from peak to eave and the attic space is 2 m high at the peak, how long does each of the pieces of insulation need to be? Round to the nearest tenth. 16. Length of insulation. For the home described in eercise 15, if the roof is 7 m from peak to eave and the attic space is 3 m high at the peak, how long does each of the pieces of insulation need to be? Round to the nearest tenth. 17. Base of a triangle. A solar collector and its stand are in the shape of a right triangle. The collector is 5.00 m long, the upright leg is 3.00 m long, and the base leg is 4.00 m long. Because of inefficiencies in the collector s position, it needs to be raised by 0.50 m on the upright leg. How long will the new base leg be? Round to the nearest tenth. 1. Base of a triangle. A solar collector and its stand are in the shape of a right triangle. The collector is 5.00 m long, the upright leg is 2.00 m long, and the base leg is 4.5 m long. Because of inefficiencies in the collector s position, it needs to be lowered by 0.50 m on the upright leg. How long will the new base leg be? Round to the nearest tenth. 73

9 ANSWERS Find the distance between each pair of points. 19. (2, 0) and ( 4, 0) 20. ( 3, 0) and (4, 0) 21. (0, 2) and (0, 9) 22. (0, ) and (0, 4) 23. (2, 5) and (5, 2) 24. (3, 3) and (5, 7) (5, 1) and (3, ) 26. (2, 9) and (7, 4) ( 2, ) and (1, 5) 2. (2, 6) and ( 3, 4) 29. (6, 1) and (2, 2) 30. (2, ) and (1, 0) 31. ( 1, 1) and (2, 5) 32. ( 2, 2) and (3, 3) 33. ( 2, 9) and ( 3, 3) 34. (4, 1) and (0, 5) ( 1, 4) and ( 3, 5) 36. ( 2, 3) and ( 7, 1) ( 2, 4) and ( 4, 1) 3. ( 1, 1) and (4, 2) 39. ( 4, 2) and ( 1, 5) 40. ( 2, 2) and ( 4, 4) 41. ( 2, 0) and ( 4, 1) 42. ( 5, 2) and ( 7, 1) Use the distance formula to show that each set of points describes an isosceles triangle (a triangle with two sides of equal length). 43. ( 3, 0), (2, 3), and (1, 1) 44. ( 2, 4), (2, 7), and (5, 3)

10 ANSWERS Dimensions of a triangle. The length of one leg of a right triangle is 3 in. more than the other. If the length of the hypotenuse is 15 in., what are the lengths of the two legs? Dimensions of a rectangle. The length of a rectangle is 1 cm longer than its width. If the diagonal of the rectangle is 5 cm, what are the dimensions (the length and width) of the rectangle? 51. Use the Pythagorean theorem to determine the length of each line segment. Where appropriate, round to the nearest hundredth. 47. y 4. y 49. y For each figure, use the slope concept and the Pythagorean theorem to show that the figure is a square. (Recall that a square must have four right angles and four equal sides.) Then give the area of the square to the nearest hundredth. 50. y 51. y 740

12 Answers cm ft ft m m Sides have length 134, 117, and in., 12in

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