1989 AHSME Problems/Problem 26

Problem

A regular octahedron is formed by joining the centers of adjoining faces of a cube. The ratio of the volume of the octahedron to the volume of the cube is

$\mathrm{(A) \frac{\sqrt{3}}{12} } \qquad \mathrm{(B) \frac{\sqrt{6}}{16} } \qquad \mathrm{(C) \frac{1}{6} } \qquad \mathrm{(D) \frac{\sqrt{2}}{8} } \qquad \mathrm{(E) \frac{1}{4} }$


Solution

Call the length of a side of the cube x. Thus, the volume of the cube is $x^3$. We can then find that a side of this regular octahedron is the square root of $(\frac{x}{2})^2$+$(\frac{x}{2})^2$ which is equivalent to $\frac{x\sqrt{2}}{2}$. Using our general formula for the volume of a regular octahedron of side length a, which is $\frac{a^3\sqrt2}{3}$, we get that the volume of this octahedron is...

$(\frac{x\sqrt{2}}{2})^3 \rightarrow \frac{x^3\sqrt{2}}{4} \rightarrow \frac{x^3\sqrt{2}}{4}*\frac{\sqrt{2}}{3} \rightarrow \frac{2x^3}{12}=\frac{x^3}{6}$

Comparing the ratio of the volume of the octahedron to the cube is…

$\frac{\frac{x^3}{6}}{x^3} \rightarrow \frac{1}{6}$ or $\fbox{C}$


See also

1989 AHSME (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 25
Followed by
Problem 27
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