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Segments from Chords

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What if you were given a circle with two chords that intersect each other? How could you use the length of some of the segments formed by their intersection to determine the lengths of the unknown segments? After completing this Concept, you'll be able to use the Intersecting Chords Theorem to solve problems like this one.

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Segments from Chords CK-12

Guidance

When we have two chords that intersect inside a circle, as shown below, the two triangles that result are similar.

This makes the corresponding sides in each triangle proportional and leads to a relationship between the segments of the chords, as stated in the Intersecting Chords Theorem.

Intersecting Chords Theorem: If two chords intersect inside a circle so that one is divided into segments of length a and b and the other into segments of length c and d then ab = cd .

Example A

Find x in each diagram below.

a)

b)

Use the formula from the Intersecting Chords Theorem.

a) 12 \cdot 8 &= 10 \cdot x\\96 &= 10x\\9.6 &= x

b) x \cdot 15 &= 5 \cdot 9\\15x &= 45\\x &= 3

Example B

Solve for x .

a)

b)

Use the Intersecting Chords Theorem.

a) 8 \cdot 24 &= (3x+1)\cdot 12\\192 &= 36x+12\\180 &= 36x\\5 &= x

b) (x-5)21 &= (x-9)24\\21x-105 &= 24x-216\\111 &= 3x\\37 &= x

Example C

Ishmael found a broken piece of a CD in his car. He places a ruler across two points on the rim, and the length of the chord is 9.5 cm. The distance from the midpoint of this chord to the nearest point on the rim is 1.75 cm. Find the diameter of the CD.

Think of this as two chords intersecting each other. If we were to extend the 1.75 cm segment, it would be a diameter. So, if we find x in the diagram below and add it to 1.75 cm, we would find the diameter.

4.25 \cdot 4.25&=1.75\cdot x\\18.0625&=1.75x\\x & \approx 10.3 \ cm,\ \text{making the diameter} 10.3 + 1.75 \approx \ 12 \ cm, \ \text{which is the}\\& \qquad \qquad \qquad \text{actual diameter of a CD.}

Segments from Chords CK-12

Guided Practice

Find x in each diagram below. Simplify any radicals.

1.

2.

3.

Answers

For all problems, use the Intersecting Chords Theorem.

1.

15\cdot 4 &=5\cdot x\\ 60&=5x \\ x&=12

2.

18 \cdot x &=9\cdot 3\\18x &=27\\ x&=1.5

3.

 12 \cdot x &=9 \cdot 16 \\ 12x&=144\\ x&=12

Practice

Fill in the blanks for each problem below and then solve for the missing segment.

20x=\underline{\;\;\;\;\;\;\;}

\underline{\;\;\;\;\;\;} \cdot 4=\underline{\;\;\;\;\;\;\;} \cdot x

Find x in each diagram below. Simplify any radicals.

Find the value of x .

  1. Suzie found a piece of a broken plate. She places a ruler across two points on the rim, and the length of the chord is 6 inches. The distance from the midpoint of this chord to the nearest point on the rim is 1 inch. Find the diameter of the plate.
  2. Fill in the blanks of the proof of the Intersecting Chords Theorem.

Given : Intersecting chords \overline{AC} and \overline{BE} .

Prove : ab=cd

Statement Reason
1. Intersecting chords \overline{AC} and \overline{BE} with segments a, \ b, \ c, and d . 1.
2. 2. Congruent Inscribed Angles Theorem
3. \triangle ADE \sim \triangle BDC 3.
4. 4. Corresponding parts of similar triangles are proportional
5. ab=cd 5.

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