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Δ A B C is similar to Δ X Y Z . The lengths of two sides of each triangle are given in the figure.

The above image shows two similar triangles. The smaller triangle is labeled A B C. The length of two sides is given for the smaller triangle A B C. The length from A to B is 17. The length from B to C is a. The length from C to D is 15. The larger triangle is labeled X Y Z. The length is given for two sides. The length from X to Y is 25.5. The length from Y to Z is 12. The length from Z to X is y.

Find the length of side a .

8

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Δ A B C is similar to Δ X Y Z . The lengths of two sides of each triangle are given in the figure.

Find the length of side y .

22.5

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The next example shows how similar triangles are used with maps.

On a map, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles form a triangle whose sides are shown in the figure below. If the actual distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is 270 miles find the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The above image shows two similar triangles and how they are used with maps. The smaller triangle on the left shows San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles on the three points. San Francisco to Los Angeles is 1.3 inches. Los Angeles to Las Vegas is 1 inch. Las Vegas to San Francisco is 2.1 inches. The second larger triangle shows the same points. The distance from San Francisco to Los Angeles is x. The distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is 270 miles. The distance from Las Vegas to San Francisco is not noted.

Solution

Read the problem. Draw the figures and label with the given information. The figures are shown above.
Identify what we are looking for. The actual distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Name the variables. Let x = distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Translate into an equation. Since the triangles
are similar, the corresponding sides are
proportional. We'll make the numerators
"miles" and the denominators "inches."
.
Solve the equation. .
.
Check.
On the map, the distance from Los Angeles to
San Francisco is more than the distance from
Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Since 351 is more
than 270 the answer makes sense.
.
Answer the question. The distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco is 351 miles.

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On the map, Seattle, Portland, and Boise form a triangle whose sides are shown in the figure below. If the actual distance from Seattle to Boise is 400 miles, find the distance from Seattle to Portland.

The above image is a triangle with one side labeled “Seattle, 4.5 inches”. The other side is labeled “Portland 3.5 inches”. The third side is labeled 1.5 inches. The vertex is labeled “Boise.”

150 miles

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Using the map above, find the distance from Portland to Boise.

350 miles

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We can use similar figures    to find heights that we cannot directly measure.

Tyler is 6 feet tall. Late one afternoon, his shadow was 8 feet long. At the same time, the shadow of a tree was 24 feet long. Find the height of the tree.

Solution

Read the problem and draw a figure. .
We are looking for h , the height of the tree.
We will use similar triangles to write an equation.
The small triangle is similar to the large triangle. .
Solve the proportion. .
Simplify. .
Check.
Tyler's height is less than his shadow's length so it makes
sense that the tree's height is less than the length of its shadow.
.

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A telephone pole casts a shadow that is 50 feet long. Nearby, an 8 foot tall traffic sign casts a shadow that is 10 feet long. How tall is the telephone pole?

40 feet

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A pine tree casts a shadow of 80 feet next to a 30-foot tall building which casts a 40 feet shadow. How tall is the pine tree?

60 feet

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Key concepts

  • Property of Similar Triangles
    • If Δ A B C is similar to Δ X Y Z , then their corresponding angle measures are equal and their corresponding sides are in the same ratio.
  • Problem Solving Strategy for Geometry Applications
    1. Read the problem and make sure all the words and ideas are understood. Draw the figure and label it with the given information.
    2. Identify what we are looking for.
    3. Name what we are looking for by choosing a variable to represent it.
    4. Translate into an equation by writing the appropriate formula or model for the situation. Substitute in the given information.
    5. Solve the equation using good algebra techniques.
    6. Check the answer in the problem and make sure it makes sense.
    7. Answer the question with a complete sentence.

Questions & Answers

find the solution to the following functions, check your solutions by substitution. f(x)=x^2-17x+72
Carlos Reply
Aziza is solving this equation-2(1+x)=4x+10
Sechabe Reply
No. 3^32 -1 has exactly two divisors greater than 75 and less than 85 what is their product?
KAJAL Reply
x^2+7x-19=0 has Two solutions A and B give your answer to 3 decimal places
Adedamola Reply
please the answer to the example exercise
Patricia Reply
3. When Jenna spent 10 minutes on the elliptical trainer and then did circuit training for20 minutes, her fitness app says she burned 278 calories. When she spent 20 minutes onthe elliptical trainer and 30 minutes circuit training she burned 473 calories. How manycalories does she burn for each minute on the elliptical trainer? How many calories doesshe burn for each minute of circuit training?
Edwin Reply
.473
Angelita
?
Angelita
John left his house in Irvine at 8:35 am to drive to a meeting in Los Angeles, 45 miles away. He arrived at the meeting at 9:50. At 3:30 pm, he left the meeting and drove home. He arrived home at 5:18.
DaYoungan Reply
p-2/3=5/6 how do I solve it with explanation pls
Adedamola Reply
P=3/2
Vanarith
1/2p2-2/3p=5p/6
James
don't understand answer
Cindy
4.5
Ruth
is y=7/5 a solution of 5y+3=10y-4
Adedamola Reply
yes
James
don't understand answer
Cindy
Lucinda has a pocketful of dimes and quarters with a value of $6.20. The number of dimes is 18 more than 3 times the number of quarters. How many dimes and how many quarters does Lucinda have?
Rhonda Reply
Find an equation for the line that passes through the point P ( 0 , − 4 ) and has a slope 8/9 .
Gabriel Reply
is that a negative 4 or positive 4?
Felix
y = mx + b
Felix
if negative -4, then -4=8/9(0) + b
Felix
-4=b
Felix
if positive 4, then 4=b
Felix
then plug in y=8/9x - 4 or y=8/9x+4
Felix
Macario is making 12 pounds of nut mixture with macadamia nuts and almonds. macadamia nuts cost $9 per pound and almonds cost $5.25 per pound. how many pounds of macadamia nuts and how many pounds of almonds should macario use for the mixture to cost $6.50 per pound to make?
Cherry Reply
Nga and Lauren bought a chest at a flea market for $50. They re-finished it and then added a 350 % mark - up
Makaila Reply
$1750
Cindy
the sum of two Numbers is 19 and their difference is 15
Abdulai Reply
2, 17
Jose
interesting
saw
4,2
Cindy
Felecia left her home to visit her daughter, driving 45mph. Her husband waited for the dog sitter to arrive and left home 20 minutes, or 13 hour later. He drove 55mph to catch up to Felecia. How long before he reaches her?
Rafi Reply
hola saben como aser un valor de la expresión
NAILEA
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, Elementary algebra. OpenStax CNX. Jan 18, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12116/1.2
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