1996 AHSME Problems/Problem 30

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A hexagon inscribed in a circle has three consecutive sides each of length 3 and three consecutive sides each of length 5. The chord of the circle that divides the hexagon into two trapezoids, one with three sides each of length 3 and the other with three sides each of length 5, has length equal to $m/n$, where $m$ and $n$ are relatively prime positive integers. Find $m + n$.

$\textbf{(A)}\ 309 \qquad \textbf{(B)}\ 349 \qquad \textbf{(C)}\ 369 \qquad \textbf{(D)}\ 389  \qquad \textbf{(E)}\ 409$


All angle measures are in degrees. Let the first trapezoid be $ABCD$, where $AB=BC=CD=3$. Then the second trapezoid is $AFED$, where $AF=FE=ED=5$. We look for $AD$.

Since $ABCD$ is an isosceles trapezoid, we know that $\angle BAD=\angle CDA$ and, since $AB=BC$, if we drew $AC$, we would see $\angle BCA=\angle BAC$. Anyway, $\widehat{AB}=\widehat{BC}=\widehat{CD}$ ($\widehat{AB}$ means arc AB). Using similar reasoning, $\widehat{AF}=\widehat{FE}=\widehat{ED}$.

Let $\widehat{AB}=2\phi$ and $\widehat{AF}=2\theta$. Since $6\theta+6\phi=360$ (add up the angles), $2\theta+2\phi=120$ and thus $\widehat{AB}+\widehat{AF}=\widehat{BF}=120$. Therefore, $\angle FAB=\frac{1}{2}\widehat{BDF}=\frac{1}{2}(240)=120$. $\angle CDE=120$ as well.

Now I focus on triangle $FAB$. By the Law of Cosines, $BF^2=3^2+5^2-30\cos{120}=9+25+15=49$, so $BF=7$. Seeing $\angle ABF=\theta$ and $\angle AFB=\phi$, we can now use the Law of Sines to get: \[\sin{\phi}=\frac{3\sqrt{3}}{14}\;\text{and}\;\sin{\theta}=\frac{5\sqrt{3}}{14}.\]

Now I focus on triangle $AFD$. $\angle AFD=3\phi$ and $\angle ADF=\theta$, and we are given that $AF=5$, so \[\frac{\sin{\theta}}{5}=\frac{\sin{3\phi}}{AD}.\] We know $\sin{\theta}=\frac{5\sqrt{3}}{14}$, but we need to find $\sin{3\phi}$. Using various identities, we see \begin{align*}\sin{3\phi}&=\sin{(\phi+2\phi)}=\sin{\phi}\cos{2\phi}+\cos{\phi}\sin{2\phi}\\ &=\sin{\phi}(1-2\sin^2{\phi})+2\sin{\phi}\cos^2{\phi}\\ &=\sin{\phi}\left(1-2\sin^2{\phi}+2(1-\sin^2{\phi})\right)\\ &=\sin{\phi}(3-4\sin^2{\phi})\\ &=\frac{3\sqrt{3}}{14}\left(3-\frac{27}{49}\right)=\frac{3\sqrt{3}}{14}\left(\frac{120}{49}\right)=\frac{180\sqrt{3}}{343} \end{align*} Returning to finding $AD$, we remember \[\frac{\sin{\theta}}{5}=\frac{\sin{3\phi}}{AD}\;\text{so}\;AD=\frac{5\sin{3\phi}}{\sin{\theta}}.\] Plugging in and solving, we see $AD=\frac{360}{49}$. Thus, the answer is $360 + 49 = 409$, which is answer choice $\boxed{\textbf{(E)}}$.

See also

1996 AHSME (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
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