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Learning Objectives

  • Calculate the area of a sector.

Area of a Sector

A sector is a section of a circle. Think of it like a pie slice: it is a section bounded on two sides by radii and one side by an arc. The tip of a sector is at the center of the circle:

image from http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Geometry/Circles/Sectors

  • A sector is just like a slice of ________________ or pizza.

The area of a sector is simply an appropriate fractional part of the area of the circle.

Suppose a sector of a circle with radius r and circumference C has an arc with a degree measure of m^\circ and an arc length of s units.

  • The sector is \frac{m}{360} of the circle.
  • The sector is also \frac{s}{C} = \frac{s}{2 \pi r} of the circle.

To find the area of the sector, just find one of these fractional parts of the area of the circle. We know that the area of the circle is \pi r^2. Let A be the area of the sector:

A =  \frac{m}{360} \cdot \pi r^2


A = \frac{s}{C} \cdot \pi r^2 = \frac{s}{2 \pi r} \cdot \pi r^2 = \frac{1}{2}sr

Area of a Sector

A circle has radius r. A sector of the circle has an arc with degree measure m^\circ and arc length s units. The area of the sector is A square units:

A = \frac{m}{360} \cdot \pi r^2 = \frac{1}{2} sr

This means that the area of a sector is one-half of the product of the ________________ and the arc length.

Example 1

Mark drew a sheet metal pattern made up of a circle with a sector cut out. The pattern is made from an arc of a circle and two perpendicular 6 inch radii like so:

How much sheet metal does Mark need for the pattern?

The cut-out sector has a degree measure of 90^\circ because the radii are perpendicular.

The measure of the arc of the metal piece is (the entire circle) – (the cut-out sector) or :

360^\circ - 90^\circ = 270^\circ

Using the values radius r = _________ and arc degree measure m = \underline{\;\;\;\;\;\;\;\;\;\;\;}^\circ,

The area of the sector

A& = \frac{m}{360} \cdot \pi r^2\\&= \frac{270}{360} \cdot \pi (6)^2 = \frac{3}{4} \cdot 36 \pi = 27 \pi \ \text{square inches}\\&\approx 84.8 \ in^2

Reading Check:

Explain the following statement in your own words:

The area of a sector is a fraction of the area of a circle, and the fraction is calculated by the degree measure of the sector divided by 360^\circ.





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Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

May 12, 2014
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