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8.4: 45-45-90 Right Triangles

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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What if you were given an isosceles right triangle and the length of one of its sides? How could you figure out the lengths of its other sides? After completing this Concept, you'll be able to use the 45-45-90 Theorem to solve problems like this one.

Watch This

CK-12 Foundation: Chapter8454590RightTrianglesA

Watch the second half of this video.

James Sousa: Trigonometric Function Values of Special Angles

Watch the second half of this video.

James Sousa: Solving Special Right Triangles


There are two types of special right triangles, based on their angle measures. The first is an isosceles right triangle. Here, the legs are congruent and, by the Base Angles Theorem, the base angles will also be congruent. Therefore, the angle measures will be 90,45, and 45. You will also hear an isosceles right triangle called a 45-45-90 triangle. Because the three angles are always the same, all isosceles right triangles are similar.

Investigation: Properties of an Isosceles Right Triangle

Tools Needed: Pencil, paper, compass, ruler, protractor

  1. Construct an isosceles right triangle with 2 in legs. Use the SAS construction that you learned in Chapter 4.
  2. Find the measure of the hypotenuse. What is it? Simplify the radical.
  3. Now, let’s say the legs are of length x and the hypotenuse is h. Use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the hypotenuse. What is it? How is this similar to your answer in #2?


45-45-90 Corollary: If a triangle is an isosceles right triangle, then its sides are in the extended ratio x:x:x2.

Step 3 in the above investigation proves the 45-45-90 Triangle Theorem. So, anytime you have a right triangle with congruent legs or congruent angles, then the sides will always be in the ratio x:x:x2. The hypotenuse is always x2 because that is the longest length. This is a specific case of the Pythagorean Theorem, so it will still work, if for some reason you forget this corollary.

Example A

Find the length of the missing sides.

Use the x:x:x2 ratio.

TV=6 because it is equal to ST. So, SV=62 .

Example B

Find the length of x.

Again, use the x:x:x2 ratio. We are given the hypotenuse, so we need to solve for x in the ratio.


Note that we rationalized the denominator. Whenever there is a radical in the denominator of a fraction, multiply the top and bottom by that radical. This will cancel out the radical from the denominator and reduce the fraction.

Example C

A square has a diagonal with length 10, what are the lengths of the sides?

Draw a picture.

We know half of a square is a 45-45-90 triangle, so 10=s2.


Watch this video for help with the Examples above.

CK-12 Foundation: Chapter8454590RightTrianglesB


A right triangle is a triangle with a 90 angle. A 45-45-90 triangle is a right triangle with angle measures of 45,45, and 90.

Guided Practice

1. Find the length of the missing sides.

2. Find the length of x.

3. x is the hypotenuse of a 45-45-90 triangle with leg lengths of 53.


1. Use the x:x:x2 ratio. AB=92 because it is equal to AC. So, BC=922=92=18.

2. Use the x:x:x2 ratio. We need to solve for x in the ratio.


3. x=532=56


  1. In an isosceles right triangle, if a leg is x, then the hypotenuse is __________.
  2. In an isosceles right triangle, if the hypotenuse is x, then each leg is __________.
  3. A square has sides of length 15. What is the length of the diagonal?
  4. A square’s diagonal is 22. What is the length of each side?
  5. A square has sides of length 62. What is the length of the diagonal?
  6. A square has sides of length 43. What is the length of the diagonal?
  7. A baseball diamond is a square with 90 foot sides. What is the distance from home base to second base? (HINT: It’s the length of the diagonal).
  8. Four isosceles triangles are formed when both diagonals are drawn in a square. If the length of each side in the square is s, what are the lengths of the legs of the isosceles triangles?

Find the lengths of the missing sides. Simplify all radicals.

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45-45-90 Theorem

For any isosceles right triangle, if the legs are x units long, the hypotenuse is always x\sqrt{2}.

45-45-90 Triangle

A 45-45-90 triangle is a special right triangle with angles of 45^\circ, 45^\circ, and 90^\circ.


The hypotenuse of a right triangle is the longest side of the right triangle. It is across from the right angle.

Legs of a Right Triangle

The legs of a right triangle are the two shorter sides of the right triangle. Legs are adjacent to the right angle.


The \sqrt{}, or square root, sign.

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Difficulty Level:
At Grade
Date Created:
Jul 17, 2012
Last Modified:
Aug 02, 2016
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