1995 AHSME Problems/Problem 29

Problem

For how many three-element sets of distinct positive integers $\{a,b,c\}$ is it true that $a \times b \times c = 2310$?


$\mathrm{(A) \ 32 } \qquad \mathrm{(B) \ 36 } \qquad \mathrm{(C) \ 40 } \qquad \mathrm{(D) \ 43 } \qquad \mathrm{(E) \ 45 }$

Solution 1

$deleted$

Solution 2

$2310 = 2 \cdot 3 \cdot 5 \cdot 7 \cdot 11$. We wish to figure out the number of ways to distribute these prime factors amongst 3 different integers, without over counting triples which are simply permutations of one another.

We can account for permutations by assuming WLOG that $a$ contains the prime factor 2. Thus, there are $3^4$ ways to position the other 4 prime numbers. Note that, with the exception of when all of the prime factors belong to $a$, we have over counted each case twice, as for when we put certain prime factors into $b$ and the rest into $c$, we count the exact same case when we put those prime factors which were in $b$ into $c$.

Thus, our total number of cases is $\frac{3^4 - 1}{2} = 40 \Rightarrow \boxed{C}$

Solution 3

The prime factorization of $2310$ is $2310 = 2 \cdot 3 \cdot 5 \cdot 7 \cdot 11.$ Therefore, we have the equation \[abc = 2310 = 2 \cdot 3 \cdot 5 \cdot 7 \cdot 11,\]where $a, b, c$ must be distinct positive integers and order does not matter. There are $3$ ways to assign each prime number on the right-hand side to one of the variables $a, b, c,$ which gives $3^5 = 243$ solutions for $(a, b, c).$ However, three of these solutions have two $1$s and one $2310,$ which contradicts the fact that $a, b, c$ must be distinct. Because each prime factor appears only once, all other solutions have $a, b, c$ distinct. Correcting for this, we get $243 - 3 = 240$ ordered triples $(a, b, c)$ where $a, b, c$ are all distinct.

Finally, since order does not matter, we must divide by $3!,$ the number of ways to order $a, b, c.$ This gives the final answer, \[\frac{240}{3!} = \frac{240}{6} = \boxed{40}.\]

See also

1995 AHSME (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 28
Followed by
Problem 30
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