1995 AIME Problems/Problem 11


A right rectangular prism $P_{}$ (i.e., a rectangular parallelpiped) has sides of integral length $a, b, c,$ with $a\le b\le c.$ A plane parallel to one of the faces of $P_{}$ cuts $P_{}$ into two prisms, one of which is similar to $P_{},$ and both of which have nonzero volume. Given that $b=1995,$ for how many ordered triples $(a, b, c)$ does such a plane exist?


Let $P'$ be the prism similar to $P$, and let the sides of $P'$ be of length $x,y,z$, such that $x \le y \le z$. Then

\[\frac{x}{a} = \frac{y}{b} = \frac zc < 1.\]

Note that if the ratio of similarity was equal to $1$, we would have a prism with zero volume. As one face of $P'$ is a face of $P$, it follows that $P$ and $P'$ share at least two side lengths in common. Since $x < a, y < b, z < c$, it follows that the only possibility is $y=a,z=b=1995$. Then,

\[\frac{x}{a} = \frac{a}{1995} = \frac{1995}{c} \Longrightarrow ac = 1995^2 = 3^25^27^219^2.\]

The number of factors of $3^25^27^219^2$ is $(2+1)(2+1)(2+1)(2+1) = 81$. Only in $\left\lfloor \frac {81}2 \right\rfloor = 40$ of these cases is $a < c$ (for $a=c$, we end with a prism of zero volume). We can easily verify that these will yield nondegenerate prisms, so the answer is $\boxed{040}$.

See also

1995 AIME (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 10
Followed by
Problem 12
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All AIME Problems and Solutions

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