While working in your Industrial Arts class one day, your Instructor asks you to use your 45-45-90 triangle to make a scale drawing. Unfortunately, you have two differently shaped triangles to use at your drafting table, and there aren't labels to tell you which triangle is the correct one to use.

You turn the triangles over and over in your hands, trying to figure out what to do, when you spot the ruler at your desk. Taking one of the triangles, you measure two of its sides. You determine that the first side is 7 inches long, and the second side is just a little under 9.9 inches. Can you determine if this is the correct triangle for your work?

### Special Triangle Ratios

Special right triangles are the basis of trigonometry. The angles \begin{align*}30^\circ, \ 45^\circ, \ 60^\circ\end{align*}

First, let’s compare the two ratios, so that we can better distinguish the difference between the two. For a \begin{align*}45-45-90\end{align*}

#### Do the set of given numbers represent a special right triangle?

#### Determine if the set of lengths below represents a special right triangle. If so, which one?

\begin{align*}8\sqrt{3}:24:16\sqrt{3}\end{align*}

Yes, this is a \begin{align*}30-60-90\end{align*}

#### Determine if the set of lengths below represents a special right triangle. If so, which one?

\begin{align*}\sqrt{5}:\sqrt{5}:\sqrt{10}\end{align*}

Yes, this is a \begin{align*}45-45-90\end{align*}

#### Determine if the set of lengths below represents a special right triangle. If so, which one?

\begin{align*}6\sqrt{7}:6\sqrt{21}:12\end{align*}

No, this is not a special right triangle. The hypotenuse should be \begin{align*}12\sqrt{7}\end{align*}

### Examples

#### Example 1

Earlier, you were asked if you have the right triangle for your work.

Since you know the ratios of lengths of sides for special triangles, you can test to see if the triangle in your hand is the correct one by testing the relationship:

hypotenuse = \begin{align*}\sqrt{2}x\end{align*}

where "x" is the length of the shorter sides. If you test this relationship with the triangle you are holding:

hypotenuse = \begin{align*}7\sqrt{2} = 9.87\end{align*}

Yes, you are holding the correct triangle.

#### Example 2

Determine if the set of lengths below represents a special right triangle. If so, which one?

\begin{align*}3\sqrt{2}:3\sqrt{2}:6\end{align*}

The sides are the same length. This means that if the triangle is one of the special triangles at all, it must be a 45-45-90 triangle. To test this, we take either of the sides that are equal and multiply it by \begin{align*}\sqrt{2}\end{align*}

\begin{align*}3\sqrt{2} \times \sqrt{2} = 3 \times \sqrt{4} = 3 \times 2 = 6\end{align*}

Yes, this triangle is a special triangle. It is a 45-45-90 triangle.

#### Example 3

Determine if the set of lengths below represents a special right triangle. If so, which one?

\begin{align*}4:2:2\sqrt{3}\end{align*}

It can immediately be seen that the second side is one half the length of the first side. This means that if it is a special triangle, it must be a 30-60-90 triangle. To see if it is indeed such a triangle, look at the relationship between the shorter side and the final side. The final side is \begin{align*}\sqrt{3}\end{align*}

#### Example 4

Determine if the set of lengths below represents a special right triangle. If so, which one?

\begin{align*}13:84:85\end{align*}

It can be seen immediately that the lengths of sides given aren't a special triangle, since 84 is so close to 85. Therefore it can't be a 45-45-90 triangle, which would require \begin{align*}84\sqrt{2}\end{align*}

### Review

For each of the set of lengths below, determine whether or not they represent a special right triangle. If so, which one?

- \begin{align*}2:2:2\sqrt{2}\end{align*}
2:2:22√ - \begin{align*}3:3:6\end{align*}
3:3:6 - \begin{align*}3:3\sqrt{3}:6\end{align*}
3:33√:6 - \begin{align*}4\sqrt{2}:4\sqrt{2}:8\sqrt{2}\end{align*}
42√:42√:82√ - \begin{align*}5\sqrt{2}:5\sqrt{2}:10\end{align*}
- \begin{align*}7:7\sqrt{2}:14\end{align*}
- \begin{align*}6\sqrt{5}:18\sqrt{5}:12\sqrt{5}\end{align*}
- \begin{align*}4\sqrt{6}:12\sqrt{2}:8\sqrt{6}\end{align*}
- \begin{align*}8\sqrt{15}:24\sqrt{5}:16\end{align*}
- \begin{align*}7\sqrt{6}:7\sqrt{6}:14\sqrt{3}\end{align*}
- \begin{align*}5\sqrt{7}:5\sqrt{14}:5\sqrt{7}\end{align*}
- \begin{align*}9\sqrt{6}:27\sqrt{2}:18\sqrt{6}\end{align*}

- Explain why if you cut any square in half along its diagonal you will create two 45-45-90 triangles.
- Explain how to create two 30-60-90 triangles from an equilateral triangle.
- Could a special right triangle ever have all three sides with integer lengths?

### Review (Answers)

To see the Review answers, open this PDF file and look for section 1.7.