1991 AIME Problems/Problem 2


Rectangle $ABCD_{}^{}$ has sides $\overline {AB}$ of length 4 and $\overline {CB}$ of length 3. Divide $\overline {AB}$ into 168 congruent segments with points $A_{}^{}=P_0, P_1, \ldots, P_{168}=B$, and divide $\overline {CB}$ into 168 congruent segments with points $C_{}^{}=Q_0, Q_1, \ldots, Q_{168}=B$. For $1_{}^{} \le k \le 167$, draw the segments $\overline {P_kQ_k}$. Repeat this construction on the sides $\overline {AD}$ and $\overline {CD}$, and then draw the diagonal $\overline {AC}$. Find the sum of the lengths of the 335 parallel segments drawn.

Solution 1

[asy] real r = 0.35; size(220); pointpen=black;pathpen=black+linewidth(0.65);pen f = fontsize(8); pair A=(0,0),B=(4,0),C=(4,3),D=(0,3); D(A--B--C--D--cycle); pair P1=A+(r,0),P2=A+(2r,0),P3=B-(r,0),P4=B-(2r,0); pair Q1=C-(0,r),Q2=C-(0,2r),Q3=B+(0,r),Q4=B+(0,2r); D(A--C);D(P1--Q1);D(P2--Q2);D(P3--Q3);D(P4--Q4); MP("A",A,f);MP("B",B,SE,f);MP("C",C,NE,f);MP("D",D,W,f); MP("P_1",P1,f);MP("P_2",P2,f);MP("P_{167}",P3,f);MP("P_{166}",P4,f);MP("Q_1",Q1,E,f);MP("Q_2",Q2,E,f);MP("Q_{167}",Q3,E,f);MP("Q_{166}",Q4,E,f); MP("4",(A+B)/2,N,f);MP("\cdots",(A+B)/2,f); MP("3",(B+C)/2,W,f);MP("\vdots",(C+B)/2,E,f); [/asy]

The length of the diagonal is $\sqrt{3^2 + 4^2} = 5$ (a 3-4-5 right triangle). For each $k$, $\overline{P_kQ_k}$ is the hypotenuse of a $3-4-5$ right triangle with sides of $3 \cdot \frac{168-k}{168}, 4 \cdot \frac{168-k}{168}$. Thus, its length is $5 \cdot \frac{168-k}{168}$. Let $a_k=\frac{5(168-k)}{168}$. We want to find $2\sum\limits_{k=1}^{168} a_k-5$ since we are over counting the diagonal. $2\sum\limits_{k=1}^{168} \frac{5(168-k)}{168}-5 =2\frac{(0+5)\cdot169}{2}-5 =168\cdot5 =\boxed{840}$

Solution 2

Using the above diagram, we have that $\Delta ABC \sim \Delta P_k B Q_k$ and each one of these is a dilated 3-4-5 right triangle (This is true since $\Delta ABC$ is a 3-4-5 right triangle). Now, for all $k$, we have that $\overline{P_k Q_k}$ is the hypotenuse for the triangle $P_k B Q_k$. Therefore we want to know the sum of the lengths of all $\overline{P_k Q_k}$.This is given by the following: \[2 \cdot(\sum_{k=1}^{168} P_kQ_k) + 5\]

\[= 2 \cdot \frac{ 0+5+10+...+835}{168} +5\] Then by the summation formula for the sum of the terms of an arithmetic series, \[= \frac{835 \cdot 168}{168} +5 = 835+5 = \boxed{840}\]


See also

1991 AIME (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 1
Followed by
Problem 3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
All AIME Problems and Solutions

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