# 1965 AHSME Problems/Problem 35

## Problem

The length of a rectangle is $5$ inches and its width is less than $4$ inches. The rectangle is folded so that two diagonally opposite vertices coincide. If the length of the crease is $\sqrt {6}$, then the width is:

$\textbf{(A)}\ \sqrt {2} \qquad \textbf{(B) }\ \sqrt {3} \qquad \textbf{(C) }\ 2 \qquad \textbf{(D) }\ \sqrt{5}\qquad \textbf{(E) }\ \sqrt{\frac{11}{2}}$

## Solution

$[asy] import geometry; point M; segment l; // Rectangle ABCD draw((0,sqrt(5))--(0,0)--(5,0)--(5,sqrt(5))--(0,sqrt(5))); dot((0,sqrt(5))); label("A", (0,sqrt(5)), NW); dot((0,0)); label("B", (0,0), SW); dot((5,0)); label("C", (5,0), SE); dot((5,sqrt(5))); label("D", (5, sqrt(5)), NE); // Segment AC and point M M=(2.5,sqrt(5)/2); l=line((0,sqrt(5)),(5,0)); draw(l); dot(M); label("M",M,W); // Segments AX, CY, and XY pair[] x=intersectionpoints(perpendicular(M,l),(0,0)--(5,0)); pair[] y=intersectionpoints(perpendicular(M,l),(0,sqrt(5))--(5,sqrt(5))); dot(x[0]); label("X",x[0],SW); dot(y[0]); label("Y",y[0],NE); draw((0,sqrt(5))--x[0]); draw((5,0)--y[0]); draw(x[0]--y[0]); // Right Angle Markers markscalefactor=0.025; draw(rightanglemark((0,sqrt(5)),M,y[0])); // Angle AMY draw(rightanglemark((5,0),M,x[0])); // Angle CMX draw(rightanglemark((0,sqrt(5)),(0,0),(5,0))); // Angle ABC draw(rightanglemark((0,sqrt(5)), (5,sqrt(5)),(5,0))); // Angle ADC // Length Labels label("5",(2.5,0),S); label("w",(0,sqrt(5)/2),W); [/asy]$

Let the rectangle be $ABCD$ with $AB=CD=w$ and $AD=BC=5$, as in the diagram. We desire a line such that reflecting point $C$ across that line yields point $A$. For this to happen, the line must be perpendicular to the diagonal $\overline{AC}$, and it must go through the midpoint of $\overline{AC}$ (let it be point $M$). Let the intersection of this line with $\overline{BC}$ be point $X$ and with $\overline{AD}$ be point $Y$. From the problem, we know that $XY=\sqrt{6}$. By HL congruence, $\triangle AMY \cong \triangle CMX$, so $AM=CM=x$, where $x$ is some number. Furthermore, $XM=MY=\frac{\sqrt{6}}{2}$. By AA similarity, $\triangle MXC \sim \triangle BAC$, so $\frac{MX}{MC}=\frac{BA}{BC}$. $MX=\frac{\sqrt{6}}{2}$, $MC=x$, $BA=w$, and $BC=5$, so we can rewrite this proportion to solve for $x$ in terms of $w$: \begin{align*} \frac{\sqrt{6}/2}{x}&=\frac{w}{5} \\ \frac{5\sqrt{6}}{2}&=xw \\ x&=\frac{5\sqrt{6}}{2w} \end{align*} By the Pythagorean Theorem on $\triangle ABC$, we know that $w^2+25=4x^2$, and we can plug in our new expression for $x$ into this equation to solve for $w$: \begin{align*} w^2+25&=4(\frac{5\sqrt{6}}{2w})^2 \\ w^2+25&=\frac{25*6}{w^2} \\ w^4+25w^2-150&=0 \\ (w^2-5)(w^2+30)&=0 \end{align*} Because $w>0$, $w^2=5$, and so $w=\boxed{\sqrt{5}}$, which corresponds to answer choice $\fbox{\textbf{(D)}}$.

 1965 AHSC (Problems • Answer Key • Resources) Preceded byProblem 34 Followed byProblem 36 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9 • 10 • 11 • 12 • 13 • 14 • 15 • 16 • 17 • 18 • 19 • 20 • 21 • 22 • 23 • 24 • 25 • 26 • 27 • 28 • 29 • 30 • 31 • 32 • 33 • 34 • 35 • 36 • 37 • 38 • 39 • 40 All AHSME Problems and Solutions